What is a Search Warrant?

A search warrant is a document, issued by a judge, that gives police permission to search a place or person and seize evidence of a crime.


How do police get a search warrant?

To get a search warrant, the police have to present a judge with a signed affidavit that states: 


  • There is probable cause (it is likely) that a crime occurred; and
  • Evidence of the crime is likely to be found at/on the location or person named.

If the judge agrees and signs the warrant, the police then can go search the place/person that is named in the warrant.


The search warrant must list specific things the police expect to find. It can’t give police general permission to search your house looking for evidence of any crime.  Being too broad is an example of what can make a search warrant invalid. 

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