What Is A Wisconsin Search Warrant?

Question: What is a Wisconsin search warrant?

Answer: A search warrant is a warrant or a document signed by a magistrate or judge upon probable cause to believe contraband will be found. If there is a warrant in a particular case, defenses to the case may be made if there is insufficient probable cause or if the warrant is vague. There’s many other challenges that can be brought, too.

A search warrant grants law enforcement the right to search a person, place, or object to find and seize a specific type of property.  That is to say that law enforcement can only seize a piece of property that is detailed in the warrant. This power can only be granted by a judge, and is only issued if probable cause is demonstrated.

A good defense attorney can attack probable cause.  If the judge determines that the probable cause was insufficient or the warrant was vague, the evidence can be thrown out of the case. This is just one of several challenges that can be utilized.

The Fourth Amendment and You

The Fourth Amendment is an important statute that protects citizens from unjust search and seizures.  This means that a search must be held to a certain standard to be valid.This means that the search has to be valid and based in probable cause to occur. This protects a citizen’s privacy and right to property from the police.

Maybe the most important aspect of the Fourth Amendment is that it means that an invalid search- one that violates the Fourth Amendment- will not produce admissible evidence. That is to say that any evidence obtained in violation of this amendment is thrown out of the case and will not be admitted.

Probable Cause- What Does It Mean?

Getting a warrant is a process that tries to ensure that no searches occur without strong reason. An officer will submit an affidavit stating the reasons why there is enough reason to search or seize property. A judge has to agree, and then issue the warrant if there is enough cause in the “totality of the circumstances.”

The amount and reliability of information determines if there is probable cause. If there is probable cause, then a person can be arrested or have their property searched and seized. Basically, probable cause is the idea that enough evidence exists that would lead a reasonable person to believe that:

  • • The person in question committed the crime.
  • • The location being searched was either the site of a crime or has evidence of the crime.
  • • The items or property being taken was obtained illegally or is evidence that a crime was committed.


Types of Warrants

There are several types of warrants that can be issued.

Judicial Warrant:

  • • Used to search for criminal evidence in a private residence or piece of property that access is denied to without the warrant.
  • • Often used by law enforcement when investigating a crime.
  • • Can only be used if there is already evidence that can lead to probable cause for search and seizure, otherwise the warrant will be invalid.

DNA Warrants

  • • Warrants that allow law enforcement to acquire DNA of a suspect. Usually done with a swab of saliva.
  • • Often used by agents in cases when DNA is found on the scene of the crime.
  • • The DNA can not be acquired without a DNA warrant as part of a normal search and seizure, so a specific warrant must be issued if DNA is required.

Administrative Warrants

  • • A warrant that allows investigation for violations of civil code.
  • • Usually used by agencies like the health department or fire department to protect public safety.
  • • Used to investigate a code violation, but probable cause must still be demonstrated.


Defending Your Right to Privacy

Search warrants can be tricky business. Probable cause can be difficult to demonstrate, and that means that evidence can sometimes be unjustly obtained. Tracey Wood and her team will often attack the warrant if it is expired or stale. Sometimes the search and seizure was simply unlawful, and that can invalidate the evidence. At other times, law enforcement may have planted the evidence to create probable cause or get a conviction.

No matter what you are going through, Tracey Wood & Associates can help. Her team understands how stressful it can be, and knows how to make a difference in the courtroom, be it with a strong argument or getting evidence dismissed. Tracey Wood & Associates can turn around seemingly unwinnable cases and get a good result for her clients.

Contact Tracey Wood & Associates today to learn how she can help you.


Call (608) 490-5779 or Schedule a Free Case Evaluation Online

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