If you are at your home in Las Vegas and police show up with a search warrant, you need to know how to respond in a way that protects your rights and does not make the situation worse.
As a preliminary matter, if you have been served with a search warrant, or you know one has been issued, you should contact a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer immediately.
Whether anything the police find during their search can be used against you as evidence at trial hinges to a large degree on whether the warrant was properly issued and whether the search itself was conducted in compliance with the warrant, the law, and your constitutional rights. Your lawyer can challenge the admissibility of any evidence improperly obtained during the search.
In addition to retaining a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible, here are four tips on how to handle the situation when police come to your Las Vegas home with a search warrant.
- Avoid confrontation or antagonism. You are understandably not happy that the police want to search your home and you may think they have no right to do so. You certainly have rights, but you should exercise them in a calm and respectful manner. While you don't have to help the officers with their search, you shouldn't try to physically block them or get in their way. Yelling, harassing, or otherwise being confrontational could have a negative effect on legitimate legal challenges you may have down the road as to the validity of the warrant or the search.
- Ask to see the warrant. Search warrants have to be issued in a very specific way, have to be signed by a judge and have to contain information as to the location and scope of the search. If the warrant specifies only certain areas of your property are to be searched, you should not voluntarily consent to any request to search parts of the house that aren't listed in the warrant. Ask to see the warrant and check for the following information:
- the premises and specific areas of your home that are covered;
- the date and time which the warrant permits the police to be present on your property to conduct a search;
- the specific documents or objects that are being searched for
- Exercise your right to remain silent. When police arrive and while they are conducting their search, say as little as possible. Other than asking to see and inspect the warrant, don't pepper the officers with questions and don't answer their questions. Again, do so respectfully but confidently.
- Record the search if you can. So long as you are not interfering with the police as they conduct their search, you should use your phone or other camera to video the search. If you and you attorney want to challenge the manner in which the search was conducted in order to exclude evidence found or make a claim for any damage to your property, a recording could be powerful evidence to support your claims.
Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys are ready to assist you. If you anticipate or have been served with a search warrant for your Las Vegas home, please give us a call so we can ensure that your rights are protected.