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Search Warrants (Essay Sample)


I wrote a paper for a customer on the different search warranties authorized by the federal government. It also covers the process by which a search warrant is issued and sought, with emphasis on the Fourth Amendment requirements.

Criminal Justice Essay
Criminal Law
There is an in-service training for around 30 officers running for two weeks. The curriculum will mainly cover the numerous types of searches that are authorized by the federal law. It will also cover the process by which a search warrant is issued and sought, with emphasis on the Fourth Amendment requirements. The probable cause and the standard which it is met will also be covered in the curriculum. Also, a minimum of two types of searches that do not need a warrant will be described and discussed in the curriculum. The curriculum will also address questions on the rationale behind allowing warantless searches and if those reasons are persuasive. Another question that will be addressed in the training session is if all searches need a probable cause or there are exceptions.
Search Warrants
Search warrants are specific and directed towards a certain group of officers or officer. The officer or a member of the specified group is the only one who can serve or execute a warrant. It is required that the officer who is specified in the warrant, must be there personally when the search is carried out (Ferdico, Fradella and Totten, 2008). However, in cases where a search warrant is issued to a sheriff, the deputy sheriff can execute and there is no need for the sheriff to be there. The process of issuing and executing a search warrant can be fairly easy or extremely difficult. For example, it is easier to use a search warrant to confiscate and establish evidence such as a gun or any other weapon, than to get business records of an individual or firm suspected of committing fraud. When getting a search warrant, it is important to consider and take seriously the Fourth Amendment. Search warrants must respect the rights of individuals and ensure the safety of property and individuals is not violated during the search. People, papers and personal items should not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures, as this is against the Fourth Amendment. Warrants are only issued upon establishing a probable cause as outlined in the affirmation or oath. The oath or affirmation gives a description of the location to be searched and the objects or individuals to be seized (Ferdico, Fradella and Totten, 2008).
Investigators must demonstrate two things to seek and get a search warrant. They must first demonstrate a probable cause that a crime was actually committed. Then, they have to show a probable cause that physical evidence is present in a particular location (Ferdico, Fradella and Totten, 2008). Once these two vital necessities are met, then there are no problems in seeking a search warrant. A judge will never approve a search warrant that does not specify the location and items to be searched. After carrying out a review, a judge makes a decision on whether or not to issue a search warrant.
Warantless Searches
There are certain types of searches that do not require a search warrant. First, a search warrant is not necessary in an emergency situation like where a police officer witnesses a robbery with violence and pursues a criminal, who takes refuge in a private residence. Such an officer can follow the criminal into the residence without the requisition of a search warrant and collect any visible evidence from the location. Police are also allowed to access any private residential if they believe an individual or property is in impending danger, or if someone screams for help and this might cause harm to an individual if time is taken to get a search warrant (Belling, 2012).The second situation that does not need a search warrant is when police arrests an individual and carries out a frisk search. Once a suspect is arrested and taken into custody, police are allowed to conduct a body search and also search the immediate surrounding (Belling, 2012).This rule is allowed by the courts to protect police officers from individuals carrying weapons. Another search that does not need a warrant is a motor vehicle search after the current occupant is arrested by the police (Belling, 2012). Police officers can search a car of any individual they arrest without a search warrant, as long as the person was the recent occupant. Police officers do not need to obtain a search warrant in the case of a consent search. A consent search is when an individual or company voluntarily and freely invites the police officers to conduct a search in a particular location. Police officers in such a situation cannot refuse to conduct a search as it was granted by an individual. However, police officers are prohibited from intimidating, coercing or tricking any individual into accepting a consent search (Belling, 2012).
Rationale for Warantless Searches
Rationale refers to the fundamental reasoning why something is done logically. The rationale behind warantless searches is to help police officers ensure that any suspect arrested is not carrying any weapon or near the vicinity of one that can endanger their safety or that of the public. However, the arrest must be carried out lawfully and the search carried out after the arrest. The arrest mustn’t be carried out on false pretences and the main aim of the search is to find incriminating evidence, weapons or any other type of evidence that is related to the arrest. The seizure and search is only carried out at the time of arrest and location where the arrest is made. Moreover, a search without a warrant is only carri...
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