What is a no-knock warrant? You see them all the time in action movies when police sneak into a perpetrator’s home in the middle of the night. Here’s an introduction to the stealth world of no-knock warrants.
Search Warrant Basics
The police cannot get a warrant to search your home merely because you look suspicious. Instead, they must come up with enough evidence tying you to a crime that a judge agrees that there is probable cause that the warrant will yield evidence of a specific crime.
Once at your home, the police may only search areas specified in the warrant. For example, they can’t open a separate garage structure on the property if the authorization limits them to the inside of your house.
The court won’t allow any evidence gathered during an illegal search to come into a trial. Thus, your attorney will attempt to persuade the judge in your case that you’re the victim of an unlawful search warrant.
What is a No-Knock Warrant
In most cases, the police are supposed to announce their presence before they come into your home. True, it might be no more than a quick shout of “police, search warrant!” before breaking open your front door. So, if the police generally warn you that they are about to come into your house, how can they sometimes perform a silent entry?
The answer is that there is something called a no-knock warrant. The cops get one if they can convince a judge that they’d lose valuable evidence if you knew in advance that they were at your door. The police can also successfully obtain a no-knock warrant if the judge decides that police safety requires the ability to enter the property on the sly.
What to do During a No-Knock Warrant
You won’t do yourself any favors by causing a scene when the police search your home. Indeed, staying calm is crucial if you want to help your defense. The ACLU recommends that you do the following things while the cops are in your living space.
- Stand to the side – There isn’t anything that you can do to stop a no-knock search, so your best bet is to stand to the side while it’s underway.
- Stay silent – You always have the Constitutional right to keep your mouth shut when the police ask you questions. State your name and say that you’ll wait to answer questions until you’ve talked to your lawyer.
- Watch – Try to see what the cops do during the search. Which rooms do they examine? Did they take anything out of the house?
- Write – Write down everything that you can remember about the search after law enforcement leaves the property. You’ll never know what bits of information might help your attorney to craft your defense.
Lastly, knowing what is a no-knock warrant is essential if you believe that you’re the focus of a police investigation. Although you can’t prevent a lawful search of your property, you can stay smart and protect your rights as a suspect/defendant.
If the search ends with you behind bars, contact us at Szar Bail Bonds for the fastest possible exit from jail.