In order to obtain a search warrant, a law enforcement officer must apply to a judge. There are several requirements that Missouri law dictates when applying. If any of these requirements are not met, it could be fatal to the validity of the search warrant. Should search warrant be squashed, it could mean the evidence obtained during the search will be suppressed. Whether that happens depends on if the evidence found could be used in court under one of the many exceptions to the warrant requirement.
The following are application requirements to obtain a warrant under Missouri law:
1) In writing and listed date and time of application
2) Identify what is to be searched for and seized in sufficient detail
3) Identify where or who is to be searched in sufficient detail
4) State facts sufficient to show probable cause for issuance of the warrant
5) Be verified by the oath or affirmation of the applicant and filed in the proper court
6) Be signed by a prosecutor of the county where the search is to take place
Each of these requirements has its own corner of case law to describe and define what is proper. For instance, it can be argued that information used to obtain a search warrant is too old to be reliable. Some items of evidence will remain “fresh” longer than others (i.e. drugs – shorter verses computer files – longer). The time always depends on the circumstances of the case. A Missouri court has held that a five day delay from observing drugs in a house was not too long. A Missouri court has also held that a search warrant for computer crimes based on 7 and 13 month old affidavits was valid. The court said that it is tolerant of evidence that can be reasonably expected to be kept for long periods of time.
If you have been charged with a crime after a warrant was executed to search your person, vehicle, or home, it is vital to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. Our attorneys will detail every aspect of the warrant application to determine if a proper application was made. Call today for a free consultation. Attorney available 24/7.