Colorado has both arrest and search warrants.
In order to get a warrant in the first place, law enforcement or the DA’s office has to demonstrate to a judge that there’s probable cause that a crime has been committed or that evidence exists in a certain location.
With a search warrant, law enforcement or the DA must convince a judge that a crime is being (or has been) committed at a certain location, and, if a search warrant is issued, evidence of the crime will be found at that location.
Generally, law enforcement is not allowed to go on what we call a “fishing expedition,” which would happen if law enforcement doesn’t really know if there’s evidence of a crime, but want to poke around and see if they can find anything. They have to demonstrate to a judge the probability, not the possibility, that there’s evidence at the location they want to search.
If they can successfully convince the judge, a search warrant will be issued, and law enforcement will be able to knock on your door, announce there’s a search warrant, and you will be obligated to allow them inside.
There is a rare subset of warrant called the “no-knock warrant” which a judge may issue if the prosecution can demonstrate there is exceeding risk of danger to law enforcement. In the alternative, a no-knock warrant may be issued if law enforcement can demonstrate that evidence may be destroyed when they knock on the door for a regular warrant.
These kinds of warrants are usually issued in drug-related cases where the evidence would be flushed if they were to knock on the door. Or in organized crime situations, where the prosecution believes that the people inside may open fire on police officers.
You’ve probably seen tv shows where the police force batters the door down and rushes inside; these are no-knock warrants.
In many ways, arrest warrants are the same as search warrants.
We’re used to hearing about criminals being arrested as the crime is being committed, but that’s not always the case; sometimes criminals are only caught after the police have a chance to conduct an investigation.
In this situation, once law enforcement has sufficient evidence to arrest the suspect, they’ll fill out an affidavit to support an arrest warrant. Then they must appear before a judge and present their affidavit. If the Court finds that the affidavit meets the requirement of probable cause, the judge will sign the arrest warrant, and the police can arrest the person.
Challenging a Warrant
After an arrest or a search, you can challenge the warrant claiming that there’s not enough evidence or challenging law enforcement excluded exculpatory evidence from the warrant.
For example, they could have told the judge something like, “when this house was previously searched, law enforcement located ten firearms.” They might not mention that the guns were all owned by somebody other than the client. Or, they could say, “this guy was previously charged with physical violence,” without mentioning that it was later determined that the charges were inappropriate and dismissed.
If the warrant is deemed unlawful, then all the evidence found as a result will be thrown out of the case.
Find the Right Lawyer for Your Case
If you are dealing with a criminal case, don’t try and go it alone. The legal system is complicated with many moving parts, and it’s important to have a professional in your corner.
Call us today at 303-449-1873 to schedule a complimentary consultation and find out if Barre Sakol is the right representative for your case.