If the police or FBI show up at your house with a search warrant, it’s essential to take certain steps to protect your rights and interests. Whatever you do, do NOT consent to the search. If you consent, then you will waive your right to challenge the search in court later.
Here’s what you should do instead:
- Stay Calm and Know Your Rights: It’s completely normal to feel anxious or scared, but staying calm and composed will help you think more clearly and make better decisions. If law enforcement arrives at your doorstep with a search warrant, don’t panic. Remember, you have rights that must be protected. Stay calm, and let our experienced team guide you through the process.
- Ask to See the Warrant: It is not unheard of for police to say they have a warrant when they don’t. So politely request to see the search warrant. Take note of the date, time, and the agency that issued the warrant. Carefully review the document to ensure it is valid. To be valid, it must be signed by a judge, and it must state with particularity the places to be searched and the things to be seized. And confirm that the search warrant has your address on it – sometimes police go to the wrong address!
- Understand the Scope of the Warrant: Pay close attention to the scope of the search described in the warrant. The warrant should specify the areas or items that the authorities are authorized to search. If the search extends beyond what’s stated in the warrant, it may be considered illegal.
- Observe Without Interfering: While the search is underway, avoid interfering with the officers. You have the right to witness the search and make note of their actions.
- Exercise Your Right to Remain Silence: You have the right to remain silent – USE IT. The police will definitely try to ask you questions, including whether various items belong to you and what you know about them. Since you will not be in custody, the police may ask you these questions even though they have not read you your Miranda rights. Any answer you give will be used against you, so refrain from discussing the matter until you’ve consulted with our St. Louis criminal defense attorneys. You may give the police your identification, but the only word you should say to them is LAWYER.
- Contact Our Firm Immediately: As soon as possible, get in touch with our dedicated team of St. Louis criminal defense lawyers. We are available 24/7 to assist you during this critical time. We limit our practice to representing individuals who have been charged, arrested, or investigated for a crime, and if law enforcement is executing a search warrant at your residence, you are definitely under investigation.
- Document the Search: If possible, document the search by noting the officers’ names, badge numbers, areas searched, and items seized. Photographs or videos may also be useful.
- Seek a Witness: You have a right to request a third party witness the search. If possible, have a friend, family member, or neighbor witness the search with you.
- Obtain the Documents: Law enforcement is required by law to give you copies of the relevant documents, namely the search warrant, the application for the search warrant, and the inventory of items seized. Be sure to obtain these documents and give them to your attorneys.
- Follow Our Advice: Rely on our legal experience and guidance throughout the process. We will ensure your rights are protected and work diligently to safeguard your interests.
And most importantly, although you should assert your rights, remain calm and polite no matter what happens. Escalating matters with law enforcement officers is never a good idea, as that is how a bad situation gets much worse. So remain cooperative within the boundaries of your rights. Avoid confrontations and maintain a respectful demeanor.
Facing a search warrant can be intimidating, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Remember, the key is to safeguard your rights without escalating the situation. Our team at Rose Legal Services in St. Louis is here to provide you with top-notch legal representation and protect your rights every step of the way.
Contact us today for a confidential consultation, and let us fight for your rights!