Nebraska law provides strict guidelines regarding when and how a search warrant can come into play.
So what can make a search warrant invalid? When the government should not have issued a warrant or issued one incorrectly, search warrant laws in Nebraska may exclude any evidence as a result of the search.
What Makes a Search Warrant Invalid?
A number of circumstances may make a search warrant invalid. If you think police collected evidence against you in an illegal search, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can review the circumstances and determine whether you were the subject of an invalid search warrant.
No Probable Cause = No Valid Warrant!
Law enforcement must have probable cause to support a search warrant. Probable cause is the requirement in criminal law that police have adequate reason to search. If a judicial officer in Nebraska issues a search warrant without probable cause, it is an invalid search warrant.
Nighttime Search Warrants
A judge or magistrate ordinarily should not issue a warrant for service at nighttime. However, it may be permissible if there is evidence that the interests of justice are clearly best served by the authorization of nighttime service.
No-Knock Search Warrants
No-knock search warrants require an additional layer of consideration. If a reputable criminal defense firm shows that there was no obvious evidence that the warrant needed to be no-knock, the court will likely find the warrant to violate search warrant laws in Nebraska.
A Vague Search Warrant? Not Allowed!
Nebraska statutes state that a search warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized. Search warrants cannot be fishing expeditions. Meaning, law enforcement may not use them to roam about and hope to find something illegal.
Therefore, the courts have determined that what can make a search warrant invalid is if it gives police open-ended discretion for finding objects. An example would be a warrant ordering a search for “any item that could be used as a weapon to harm a person.” A defense attorney would argue that the warrant was far too broad. The warrant would need to narrow the focus to something such as “any and all firearms,” at the very least.
Invalid Search Warrant Carried Out? Exclusionary Rule!
Based on the laws of Nebraska, the exclusionary rule is usually applicable when law enforcement executes an invalid search warrant. Through this long-standing law, courts can exclude incriminating evidence from being introduced at trial upon proof that law enforcement procured evidence in violation of the law.
Therefore, evidence law enforcement seized in the execution of a warrant that was not valid may be inadmissible in court.
Seek Legal Advice
Here we have addressed some of the basics. There are exceptions to the information above, based on law enforcement and judicial parties acting in good faith. On the other hand, there are purely technical but equally important requirements for signatures and other administrative steps that law enforcement must adhere to for warrants to be valid. What can make a search warrant invalid will depend on the facts of a particular case and the totality of search warrant laws in Nebraska.
If you or someone you know believes that law enforcement issued or served a search warrant in violation of the law, seek legal advice from an attorney who gets results. Skilled criminal defense lawyers can analyze the possible existence of an invalid search warrant and defend you in legal proceedings.
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Petersen Criminal Defense Law was established in 1995 and has dealt with thousands of criminal defense cases. Our lead attorney Tom Petersen provides diligent and tough representation.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us by calling 402-513-2180 or by filling out our online form.
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