Flagstaff, AZ – Search warrants are defined by Arizona law as orders in writing issued in the name of the State of Arizona, signed by a magistrate, directed to an Arizona peace officer, and commanding the peace officer to search for personal property, persons or items. When property is stolen or embezzledSearch warrants can be issued upon the following grounds:
- When property is used as a means of committing a public offense
- When property is in the possesion of a person with the intent to use the property to commit a public offense or hide the evidence
- When property needs to be inspected by a public official in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare as part of a state inspection program
- When the person sought has an outstanding arrest warrant
See A.R.S. section 13-3912. So, what do you do if you’re the victim of a search warrant? Well, first, you should receive a copy of the warrant and a very important document called the Property Invoice and Receipt. The receipt must state everything that was taken from you. So you should make sure that the police did not take anything that is not noted on the receipt. Next, go to the Court that issued the search warrant and try to get a copy of the affidavit upon which the search warrant was based.
The legal standard to determine if the search warrant is valid is “probable cause.” Specifically, no search warrant shall be issued except on probable cause, supported by affidavit, naming or describing the person and particularly describing the property to be seized and the place to be searched. See A.R.S. section 13-3913.
If you do not believe probable cause exists, or the grounds stated in the affidavit are false, misleading, wrong, or otherwise faulty, we can challenge or controvert the grounds of issuance of the warrant. The Court will have a hearing where we can elicit your testimony and the testimony of other witnesses.
Ultimately, controverting the grounds of a search warrant will not lead to the suppression of evidence from trial, but it might get your stuff back sooner. If your property is subject to forfeiture proceedings, that’s a-whole-nother story.
Questions on Arizona forfeiture proceedings? Contact me using the form at the top right of this page. Need to challenge a search warrant? Contact Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, PLLC now.