Arrest Warrants and Search Warrants in Los Angeles, CA

by | Apr 12, 2024 | Arrest Warrants, Search Warrants

A law enforcement officer in California may obtain several different warrants during a criminal investigation. Understanding the differences between an arrest warrant and a search warrant will allow you to understand your legal rights if you are dealing with a warrant as part of a criminal investigation.

Arrest warrants allow law enforcement officers to place a specific person under arrest for a particular crime. In contrast, search warrants authorize law enforcement officers to search specified locations for specific items.

Arrest Warrants in California

Arrest Warrants in California

Police in California can arrest individuals with or without a warrant. Most arrests executed without a warrant are for conduct witnessed directly by the arresting police officer.

If there is a lapse in time between the alleged criminal conduct and the arrest, law enforcement officials may request an arrest warrant from the court. When requesting an arrest warrant, law enforcement officials must follow certain protocols.

The procedure for requesting an arrest warrant in California includes:

  • Filing a complaint with the appropriate court. The purpose of an arrest warrant is to obtain personal jurisdiction over the person accused of the crime. Most times, this will involve going to the court in the jurisdiction (part of the state) where the crime occurred and requesting a warrant for the accused’s arrest.
  • Provide written declaration of probable cause. An arrest warrant may only be issued if there is probable cause that the accused committed a criminal act. The law enforcement officer(s) requesting the warrant must back up their allegations with evidence suggesting the accused is guilty of the crime.
  • Make a sworn oral statement detailing the criminal offense. The statement supplements the written declaration and helps fill in information gaps. The oral declaration may be in person or by phone.

If the judge or magistrate believes the law enforcement officer has provided probable cause the accused committed a crime, they will issue an arrest warrant. The warrant is a formal document signed by the judge that permits law enforcement officials to place a specific person under arrest.

An valid arrest warrant must contain certain information, including:

  • Criminal offense committed
  • Name of person to be placed under arrest and detained
  • Time and place warrant was issued
  • Signature of the judge or magistrate authorizing the arrest
  • The amount of bail, if applicable

If a warrant fails to contain this information, you may challenge its validity and the appropriateness of your arrest. A proper warrant must come from a court with the required information. Once issued, police officers must execute arrest warrants within a reasonable amount of time.

What Should I Do If I Learn About an Arrest Warrant for Me?

If you discover that there is an arrest warrant out for you, it’s crucial to handle the situation calmly and responsibly.

Here are some steps you should take:

  • Stay Calm: It’s natural to feel anxious or panicked upon learning about an arrest warrant, but try to remain calm. Panicking will not help the situation and may lead to poor decision-making.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can provide you with legal guidance and help you understand the nature of the warrant and the potential consequences. They can also advise you on the best course of action to take.
  • Gather Information: Try to gather as much information as possible about the warrant. Find out the reason for the warrant, where it was issued, and any other relevant details. This information will help your attorney assess the situation and provide you with the appropriate legal advice.
  • Prepare to Surrender: Depending on the seriousness of the charges and the circumstances surrounding the warrant, you may need to surrender yourself to law enforcement. Your attorney can guide you through this process and ensure that your rights are protected.
  • Follow Legal Advice: Once you’ve consulted with your attorney, follow their advice closely. They are experienced in dealing with legal matters and will be able to help you navigate the situation effectively.
  • Avoid Making the Situation Worse: While it may be tempting to ignore the warrant or try to evade law enforcement, this will only make the situation worse. Ignoring a warrant can lead to additional charges and consequences. It’s best to address the warrant head-on with the help of legal counsel.
  • Stay Informed: Keep in touch with your attorney and stay informed about any developments in your case. Your attorney will keep you updated on court proceedings and any actions you need to take.

Remember that dealing with an arrest warrant can be a stressful and challenging experience, but having a knowledgeable attorney by your side can make a significant difference. Take the necessary steps to address the warrant responsibly and protect your legal rights.

Can Police Enter a Home With Only an Arrest Warrant?

Law enforcement officers who obtained an arrest warrant can enter the home of the individual targeted for arrest. They may also use force to enter if they believe the accused is inside.

However, if the accused party is the guest of another person and not in their own home, law enforcement may not enter the premises to execute an arrest warrant. Law enforcement must obtain a search warrant to enter someone else’s property to execute an arrest warrant.

Search Warrants in California

Search Warrants in California

Search warrants differ from arrest warrants. These warrants permit law enforcement officers to enter and search specific locations for specified items or people. Law enforcement officers request search warrants from the courts in a process similar to the request for an arrest warrant.

To persuade a judge or magistrate to issue the warrant, they must have probable cause to believe that evidence related to a crime, or a person who committed a crime, is in the location targeted by the search warrant.

To be valid, a search warrant must describe with particularity the search location and the person or item they will seize, if found. Law enforcement officers may not exceed the permissions granted by the warrant.

However, exceptions exist for items in plain view during a search. Any items in plain view—visible without moving or shifting anything, such as a door or opening a table—are fair game.

If the police enter your home to search for your cousin and happen to see heroin and paraphernalia sitting on the table, they can seize the items. They will use this evidence against you and your cousin even if the warrant limited the search to a specific person.

California law also requires law enforcement officers to leave a receipt for any seized property while executing a warrant.

What if Law Enforcement Officers Seize Items Without a Warrant?

If law enforcement officers search your property or seize items without a warrant, take appropriate action.

  1. Remain Calm: Stay calm and avoid escalating the situation. Do not physically resist the officers, as this could lead to further complications.
  2. Ask for a Warrant: Politely ask the officers if they have a warrant for the search or seizure. If they do not have a warrant, you have the right to refuse consent to the search or seizure. Clearly state that you do not consent to the search.
  3. Document the Incident: If possible, document the incident by taking notes or recording video or audio of the interaction with the officers. This can serve as evidence later if you need to challenge the legality of the search or seizure.
  4. Invoke Your Rights: Clearly assert your constitutional rights. You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. If the police question you, you can say that you wish to remain silent and that you want to speak to your lawyer before answering any questions.
  5. Do Not Interfere: While you may refuse to consent to a search or seizure without a warrant, never physically interfere with the officers. Interfering with law enforcement activities can lead to arrest and additional charges.
  6. Contact an Attorney: If police officers search your property or seize items without a warrant, contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can advise you about your rights and help you take appropriate legal action, such as filing a motion to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully.
  7. File a Complaint: If you believe that law enforcement officers violated your rights by conducting an unlawful search or seizure, you may file a complaint with the appropriate authorities or seek legal recourse. Your lawyer can offer advice about how to take these steps.

It’s important to understand that law enforcement officers must follow certain procedures and obtain warrants before conducting searches or seizures. If they violated your rights, your attorney may prevent the prosecutor from using the evidence against you in court. This could significantly weaken the case against you and the court may dismiss it.

The Role of a Criminal Defense Attorney Following a Los Angeles Arrest or Search Warrant

Following a Los Angeles arrest or search warrant, a criminal defense attorney plays a crucial role in advocating for you and protecting your rights. If law enforcement officers arrested you or searched your property, a criminal defense attorney can help.

Some benefits of hiring a lawyer to manage your case include:

  • Legal Advice: A defense attorney provides legal advice and guidance throughout the criminal justice process. They explain your rights and options, including what to say or do during interactions with law enforcement and in court.
  • Representation: The attorney represents you throughout the legal process, including during questioning, court appearances, and any negotiations with prosecutors. They act as your advocate, working to achieve the best possible outcome given the circumstances.
  • Investigation: A defense attorney conducts a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding your arrest or the search warrant. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and examining the legality of the search or arrest.
  • Challenge Evidence: If police officers obtained evidence unlawfully or violated your rights, your defense attorney will file motions to suppress that evidence. This may include challenging the validity of the search warrant or arguing that they obtained the evidence through coercion or other illegal means.
  • Negotiation With Prosecutors: In many cases, the defense attorney will negotiate with prosecutors to reach a favorable plea bargain or have charges reduced or dismissed. They advocate for the best possible outcome for you based on the evidence and circumstances of the case.
  • Court Representation: If the case goes to trial, your defense attorney represents you in court proceedings. They present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and argue legal points on your behalf with the goal of securing an acquittal or minimizing the consequences of a conviction.
  • Protecting Rights: Throughout the legal process, your criminal defense attorney works to protect your constitutional rights, including the right to a fair trial, the right to remain silent, and the right to due process.

Discuss Your Los Angeles Arrest Warrant or Search Warrant With Our Team

Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney

A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney plays a critical role in protecting your rights and interests if you are facing an arrest or a search warrant in Los Angeles. We provide free initial case consultations for those facing allegations, investigations, or arrests.

Call Rodriguez Law Group now at (213) 995-6767 to learn more.

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