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Florida Search Warrants

The Federal and Florida Constitutions protect against unreasonable searches and seizures. According to case law, an unreasonable search or seizure is a search or seizure without a warrant.

Search warrants are a significant part of the criminal investigation process and are often large indicators that an individual is suspected of a crime.  The basis for requiring a warrant is that some places or properties are so intimate that government invasion offends our fundamental liberties.

Thus, warrants are required in order to search homes, effects, papers, business, vehicles, or to take bodily fluid samples for testing, such as saliva or blood.

Attorney for Search Warrants in Gainesville, FL

If you or someone you know has been served with a search warrant or your property was seized during a raid or investigation, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.

It is important that if you are being investigated by law enforcement, that you do not make any statements to the police without first seeking legal counsel. At Galigani Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing clients with the kind of legal counsel that will protect and defend their constitutional rights.

With offices located at , we accept cases in Bradford County, Union County, Putnam County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, Columbia County, and Marion County, Florida.

Call (352) 375-0812 or submit a free evaluation form and speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

Alachua County Preliminary Hearings Information Center

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Warrants for a Private Home under § 933.18 F.S.

The Florida Statutes specifically outline when a search warrant may be issued for a Florida home. Thus, warrants for private dwellings may not always be issued. According to Florida Statute § 933.18, no warrant shall be issued to search any private occupied dwelling unless:

  1. It is being used for the unlawful sale, possession, or manufacture of intoxicating liquor;
  2. It is being used to carry on gambling;
  3. It is being used to perpetuate frauds and swindles;
  4. Stolen or embezzled property is contained therein;
  5. One or more of the following child abuse offenses is being committed there;
    1. interference with custody I violation of §787.03,
    2. exposure of sexual organs to a child in violation of § 800.03,
    3. commission of an unnatural and lascivious act with a child in violation of § 800.02.
  6. A weapon, instrumentality, or means by which a felony has been committed, or evidence relevant to proving said felony has been committed, is contained therein;
  7. The law relating to narcotics or drug abuse is being violated therein;
  8. It is in part used for some business purpose such as a store, shop, saloon, restaurant, hotel, boarding house, or lodging house;
  9. The laws in relation to cruelty to animals, as provided in chapter 828, have been or are being violated therein; or
  10. It is being used for the unlawful sale, possession, or purchase of wildlife, saltwater products, or freshwater fish being violated therein; or
  11. An instrumentality or means by which sexual cyber harassment has been committed in violation of § 784.049, or evidence relevant to providing that sexual cyber harassment has been committed in violation of § 784.049, is contained therein.

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Valid Florida Warrants

Along with the U.S. Constitution, Florida Statute §933.07, protects the right against unreasonable searches and seizures by requiring a valid warrant. In order for a warrant to be valid, it must contain:

  1. a signature by an impartial judge;
  2. a particular description of the persons to be searched or the things to be seized;
  3. a basis of probable cause; and
  4. it must be served by the officers requesting the warrant.

Without any one of the requirements, the warrant is invalid. Additionally, any valid warrant must be executed and returned to the judge within ten (10) days after its issuance.

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Knock and Announce

The United States Supreme Court first introduced Knock and Announce in Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586 ( 2006), which is the idea that police officers are required to knock and announce their presence before they execute a search warrant.

"Knock and announce" is required under certain circumstances for cases in Gainesville, Florida, and throughout Alachua County, FL. When a police officer executes a search warrant, he or she must notify residents and those inside the dwelling by knocking or by some other reasonable means and announce his or hers authority to enter the dweling.

If, after giving notice of his or her authority to enter and his or hers purpose, if the officer is refused or no one answers the knock and announce, then the officer may execute the warrant by breaking down the door, window, or any part of the house to enter.

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Types of Warrants Issued in Florida

The various kinds of warrants in Florida can include the following:

  • search warrant
  • arrest warrant
  • inspection warrant
  • agriculture warrant

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Exceptions to the Warrant Requirement

While unreasonable searches and seizures are unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that there are some instances where law enforcement officers are not required to have a warrant to execute a search or make a seizure. Exceptions to the warrant requirement include:

  • search incident to arrest;
  • border/airport security searches;
  • public schools searches;
  • plain view;
  • inventory searches;
  • Terry stops;
  • consent;
  • emergency circumstances

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Additional Resources

Florida Chapter 933 –Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature to find the statutory language for Florida search and seizure statute § 933.02. The Statute provides the law on issuing a valid Florida search warrant.

The Florida Crime Access System –Visit the Department of Law Enforcement to find a searchable database that contains information about outstanding arrest warrants issued in Florida.

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Finding a Search Warrant Attorney in Alachua County, FL

If a law enforcement officer in Alachua County attempts to execute a search warrant on your premises, then it will be important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call an attorney now to ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact Galigani Law Firm, an experienced criminal defense attorney in Alachua County, FL. We take cases throughout the Gainesville Metropolitan area in counties like Alachua County, Bradford County, Union County, Putnam County, Gilchrist County, Levy County, Columbia County, and Marion County, Florida.

Call (352) 375-0812 or submit your information for a free evaluation of your case.

This article was last updated on July 7, 2017.

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