Executing a Search Warrant in Arizona

A search warrant is a written order that is signed by a judge allowing for an officer of the law to legally search a person, personal property, or items as listed in the warrant. Under the laws in Arizona and the Fourth Amendment rights of the Constitution that protects citizens from unlawful searches and seizures of themselves or their property, search warrants must have the following to be legal:

  • Probable cause
  • Issued in the name of the State of Arizona
  • Signed by a magistrate or judge
  • Presented by an officer of the law who has the authority to make arrests
  • List the specifics of the person, place, or thing to be searched
  • Limited to specific items the officers of the law are to look for
  • Specific dates and times listed

Reasons a Search Warrant May Be Issued

Under A.R.S. § 13-3912, a search warrant can be issued for any of the following reasons:

  • The property to be seized by officers of the law was embezzled or stolen
  • The property or items listed for seizure were used to commit a public offense
  • The items or property listed for the seizure was in the possession of someone who planned on using it to commit a public offense or has transferred it to the possession of someone else in an attempt to hide it
  • The items or property are evidence that a public offense was committed or a particular person committed the offense
  • The property that is listed to be searched and inspected in the interest of public safety, health, or welfare
  • The person is the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant

Exceptions to Search Warrant Requirements

Officers of the law have some authority when handling the scene of a crime and execution of a search that does not go against Arizona law. These circumstances that may compel the officer to proceed without a warrant include these exceptions:

  • An arrest make the search incidental
  • Evidence could be destroyed while police wait for the warrant
  • The suspect gives the officers the consent to the search without a warrant
  • Situations of imminent danger that may cause the officer harm

Invalid and UnConstitutional Searches

Any search that is conducted by officers of the law without a search warrant and does not classify as exceptions to the rules are considered invalid searches. If the court finds that no extrenuating circumstances were prompting for an immediate search, the court will classify the search as invalid. Any evidence obtained during the invalid search will be suppressed and will not be permitted to be used in a case against the subject. Invalid searches are considered a violation of a person’s constitutional rights.

Call an Experienced Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer

When you find yourself at the end of a search warrant being executed by an officer of the law, call an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney. The evidence being gathered is likely to be used to build a criminal case against you or another party and to protect yourself, you need legal counsel. At the first sign of a search warrant, call a skilled Arizona criminal defense lawyer today.