An arrest is only lawful if it’s carried out as prescribed by the law. Even as a person awaiting trial, you have certain rights.
For instance, a police officer is not allowed to use force during an arrest, and they cannot search property that they do not have a warrant for. If they violate these laws, the arrest could be considered null and void.
This is why both search and arrest warrants are so important.
Let’s learn more about them:
What are warrants—an overview
A warrant is an order or a document that establishes authority to carry out an act that would otherwise impinge upon a citizen’s right to freedom or privacy. It is usually written or issued by a higher-degree officer (either a judge or a magistrate).
If the police officer engages in any activity that the warrant doesn’t authorize, they’ll be violating your constitutional rights.
How do arrest warrants work?
Before getting to how arrest warrants work, it’s important to understand that arrest warrants and bench warrants aren’t the same. An arrest warrant is granted or issued by a judge in order to authorize the arrest of an alleged defendant. On the other hand, the judge issues a bench warrant if the defendant fails to appear in front of the court.
Each arrest warrant must be backed by probable cause. The police officer who reaches out to the court must present probable cause for why the suspect should be arrested. They must also present some pertinent evidence to support the claim and expedite the issuance process.
In most cases, a police officer only needs an arrest warrant if a crime was committed out that they did not observe. If it takes place in their presence, there might not be a need for the warrant.
If you have been approached by a police officer with an intent to arrest, always ask them to show you the arrest warrant. It’s your legal right to ask for it.
How do search warrants work?
Just as the name suggests, a search warrant is a legal document that authorizes or permits a police officer to search your property. Just like an arrest warrant, the police officer needs to present probable cause that explains why the search is justified.
The concept of a search warrant came to the fore after the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution was issued. This amendment restricted the federal and state government from carrying out unreasonable seizures and searches. The same clause also states that every defendant has the right to secure their papers, home, and people against any search that’s unreasonable. This right must not be violated by the law enforcement authorities.