Warrants and Affidavits

Detroit criminal attorneyWhich specific items can be searched and seized with a warrant, and what does an affidavit describe in terms of the evidence of the case is what a Detroit criminal attorney would explain for you if you were a suspect in a criminal investigation.

Warrant Has Specific Particularity

The executing officer must have a warrant that describes the places to be searched and any items to be seized with particularity, according to a Detroit criminal lawyer. The executing officer is only authorized to do what is clearly stated on the warrant. Your Detroit criminal attorney would compare the supporting affidavit’s assertions about the items that the warrant authorizes for seizure. This is to ensure that the warrant is not overly broad but properly particular.

When the Warrant Is Inefficient

When it is found that the places searched and items seized are not sufficiently described in the warrant, a Detroit criminal attorney says that the defect cannot be simply remedied by the executing officer’s verbal explanation of what items he or she is searching nor by the supporting affidavit. But a Detroit criminal lawyer does point out that if the affidavit is served along with the warrant or attached to the warrant, the defect can be remedied.

Seizure of Books and Computers

When it comes to the seizure of books because of the ideas they contain, a Detroit criminal attorney advises that a higher degree of particularity be demanded and especially when the seizure of computers is also involved. An obscenity investigation is where this increased particularity would be most often applied.

A Detroit criminal lawyer should argue for this application as many times people store their most personal, private thoughts with writings and photographs on a computer.

The Affidavit

The affidavit that established the probable cause for issuing the warrant is considered a separate document. A Detroit criminal attorney explains the affidavit is frequently not served as prosecution will usually request an order to seal it until the indictment.

But the law is rather unsettled when it comes to the suspect’s or the public’s right to unseal the affidavit. Some courts have held that an affidavit cannot be accessed prior to the indictment, while other courts have been more in favor of allowing unsealing. The contention is that the First and Fourth Amendments hold a presumption in favor of unsealing.

It is felt that the prosecution must show a convincing, plausible reason for continuing the sealing and the lack of any less restrictive means to validate that need.

The Affidavit’s Value and Power

The affidavit is of great value as it commonly contains a thorough report of the evidence against the suspect when the warrant is issued. But a keenly-aware Detroit criminal attorney would know it would not be to their client’s favor to ask the court to unseal an affidavit in a newsworthy investigation. The media could read and report anything they find as an unsealed affidavit becomes public record. Here is where hearsay and damaging rumors can be spread about the case that could harm the defense.

Experienced legal representation is obviously very important to ensure you are being defended properly in a criminal case. To arrange a consultation with a Detroit criminal attorney, call the office of Timothy A. Dinan at 313-821-5904 today.