Search Warrants in Florida (Statute 933)
As Tampa Criminal Defense Lawyers clients often ask us if the police can conduct a pat down and frisk search without a warrant or enter and search a residence without a warrant. The short answer is yes under certain circumstances ways exist that give the police the right to bypass obtaining a search warrant and conduct a legal search. One of these exceptions exist if law enforcement has reasonable suspicion that you committed a crime and are fleeing the scene. If apprehended they may temporarily detain you and conduct a partial search also known as a frisk or a Terry Stop. This type of search involves patting down your outer clothing to determine whether or not you have a concealed weapon. However, law enforcement cannot use this type of search as a pretense solely to look for drugs. However, if a weapon is found with this pat down an officer is legally permitted to do a more thorough search. They may not however detain you for an extended period of time without some further evidence. Another exception to obtaining a search warrant to justify a search is a search incident to an arrest. If you are arrested for any crime, law enforcement may search your person and area surrounding yourself within reach. If weapons or drugs are found you may face additional charges. Therefore, if you feel you were searched without probable cause or a warrant it is important to contact an experienced Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney.
Any judge within the county requested may issue a search warrant based on the probable cause standard and a properly completed affidavit by law enforcement. The warrant must be based on probable cause and has to clearly state the place to be searched and/or the items to be seized.
When can a search warrant be issued in Florida is another question that Tampa Search Warrant Attorneys are often asked? The Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office, as with any Florida law enforcement agency, may obtain a search warrant if the item in question was stolen or used to commit a crime or the property in question was used in connection with gambling or contains obscene material in violation of Section 847.011 of Florida Statutes. Also, if the property in question contains evidence necessary to prove a felony. A warrant maybe obtained if the property is contains any or is used in a manner that violates state law. This includes food and drug laws and animal protection laws.
With warrant in hand an officer may use force to enter your residence if you refuse to open the door. Also, an officer can execute a warrant any time of day even on religious and national holidays (Sunday included). Although very rare, if a warrant is obtained by fraud the officer obtaining it maybe be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
As with any law enforcement encounter if you are investigated for committing a crime our advice, as Tampa Criminal Lawyers, is do not communicate with law enforcement PERIOD. When questioned, politely respond that your lawyer has advised you not to communicate. Respectfully request that law enforcement contact your lawyer if they have any questions. You most likely will get arrested but the long-term outcome of your case will be stronger than if you had talked. To determine the validity of your arrest or if you have questions regarding a criminal defense issue contact an experienced Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney today by calling 813-444-3912 to discuss your case.