Legal Updates

Search Warrants

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and article 1, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution guarantee people the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  Where a search is conducted with a warrant, one should assess whether the basis for the warrant can be challenged.  Motions to suppress on the basis of an invalid search warrant are referred to as “four-corners-motions.”  Only the face of the warrant is evaluated in determining its validity.

The following are the most common basis to challenge a search warrant:

  • The warrant fails to adequately describe the property to be searched or the evidence to be seized
  • The affidavit in support of the warrant alleges insufficient facts to support a finding of probable cause
  • The warrant is not signed or the facts are stale
  • The warrant is based exclusively on an anonymous tip
  • The affidavit of probable cause contains a material misstatement
  • The officer executing the warrant did not announce “authority and purpose” prior to entering
  • Too much time lapsed between the issuance of the warrant and its execution
  • Evidence was recovered from a person not described in the search warrant
  • The search exceeded the scope of the warrant

If you believe that the search warrant used to enter your house was invalid, contact the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos.  We will examine the warrant to ensure it passes constitutional muster.