- October 22, 2022
- Firm News
What makes a search warrant valid in Michigan?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Michigan’s constitution both protect the residents of this state from unlawful searches.
Practically speaking, most Detroit residents understand at some level that the authorities cannot search a person, their home or their belongings for any reason.
While there are exceptions, police should have a search warrant, especially if they want to search someone’s private residence.
Aside from the federal and state constitutions, Michigan also has a law describing exactly what makes a search warrant valid in this state.
For one, those wanting to obtain a warrant must swear to the facts that give the person, usually a police officer, the probable cause to make a search. While it is designed to be efficient, there is a set process the authorities must follow.
Likewise, before executing a search warrant, authorities must wait until they have satisfactory proof that an authorized judicial official has actually signed the warrant.
Police may not simply rely on a judge’s oral permission to make a search, even if the judge has every intention of signing a warrant and ultimately does so.
Police and prosecutors are responsible for making sure they follow these requirements and should do so to the letter. Otherwise, those who wind up facing criminal charges may be able to argue that the police’s search warrant was not valid.
Detroit residents may have other grounds to contest the police’s search
On whatever grounds, successfully challenging a search could mean the court tells prosecutors that they cannot use critical evidence in their case. This result could mean prosecutors must dismiss their charges.
Even the chance that evidence might get thrown out is sometimes enough to get a prosecutor to offer a favorable plea bargain.
How it works in practice will depend a lot on the details of each individual case, but anyone in the area accused of a crime should remember that there are ways to challenge a law enforcement agency’s search. Challenging a search warrant is one such way.