When Can Governments Obtain a Search Warrant in Utah?

Salt Lake City criminal lawyer

A warrant is an official order regarding a judge’s authorization for access to parts of an investigation involving someone’s private property. For example, the warrant authorizes or denies officials entrance to a home or to search someone’s car. The government can obtain search warrants anytime in Utah. Judges can be called at home, and there are no day or time restrictions. Judges can even receive electronic warrant requests online and make a determination in less than a minute. However, there are certain conditions that must be met in order for the warrant to be legitimate. “Probable cause” is the overriding concept needed to obtain a valid search warrant in Utah. Probable cause is the legal term used to establish that the authorities have credible information justifying the issuance of a warrant to search a property. For example, they can see a person intoxicated, or they have reliable data to suspect a crime has been or is about to be committed. Most times a warrant is granted is because there is a concern for the loss of valuable information regarding a crime. There are constitutional guarantees under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution protecting the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Warrants are considered measures to safeguard the rights of criminal defendants against government’s overzealous and unnecessary intrusions into the lives of investigated individuals.

If you have questions about what constitutes warrant and how it’s supposed to be obtained, contact an experienced attorney. Terms like “probable cause” can be intimidating and heavily charged. Salt Lake City criminal defense attorney Darwin Overson has decades of experience and a proven record defending victims against unreasonable searches and seizures and improper warrants. To schedule your free legal consultation, call us at (801) 516-0464.

What is an E-Warrant in Utah?

An e-warrant is a warrant submitted and authorized or denied electronically. Judges and police officers can quickly communicate electronically, day or night through e-warrants.

Whenever a warrant is requested, a probable cause statement has to be included in the request. Government officials are supposed to include the information establishing why a warrant is needed. Under the traditional means, officials used to meet with the judge to discuss the details for requesting a warrant. Technology has simplified the process for the authorities. However, there may be rights at stake in a faulty e-warrant that should be brought to the attention of an attorney.

Everyday uses of the e-warrant have been seen in DUI situations when an individual who is visibly intoxicated refuses to submit a breathalyzer test. In Utah, a blood test can be sought with a secured warrant when a person refuses to offer a breathalyzer test. Since there are different circumstances surrounding every warrant, an experienced Utah criminal defense lawyer can help you review and determine if a warrant was properly obtained.

Failure to Obtain a Search Warrant Exceptions

There are certain exceptions when failure to obtain a warrant will be excused. These are typically situations when swift action is deemed necessary to prevent a crime. Government officials must be able to explain what reasons made it impossible to obtain a search warrant.

Exigent circumstances can be used as an excuse for unjustifiable intrusions of privacy. Criminal defense attorneys regularly confront this problem when someone is accused of a crime with information or evidence obtained without a warrant. If you are concerned that the evidence for the charges brought against you or someone you know was based on a faulty warrant or police misconduct, you should talk to an attorney. The legal concept of privacy is defined in multiple ways that a lawyer can help you understand.

Protecting Utahns Against “Rubber Stamped” Warrants

Many warrants can be “rubber stamped” for approval. This is a significant problem considering that some warrants allow for extremely intrusive methods of obtaining information. For example, a warrant can legitimize no-knock forcible entries in a family’s home in the middle of the night. While it is vital to clarify what property is protected under a warrant requirement, the warrant grant can be a superficial step unless precautions are taken to ensure judges are carefully and cautiously reviewing official requests. Constitutional law practitioners are keenly aware of these problems. Not all warrants are lawfully obtained. Officials are known to lie (e.g., perjury) and to manipulate information, utilizing bad faith methods to seek warrants. These problems can be seen more often than most people realize. An attorney is best prepared to address situations when these problems.

How Warrants Protect Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures in Utah

Warrants serve an essential purpose in that citizens are protected against abusive and unconstitutional practices such as intrusions into privacy. Inasmuch as warrants can be criticized for the easiness allowed to obtain warrants in Utah, they are still held as important methods to protect privacy.  There have been various bills introduced in Utah’s legislature seeking to increase protections to electronic information. Many citizens are right to be concerned about the problems that can occur in their lives if their private information is not protected.

Most people tend to think that their e-mails and another electronic date cannot be obtained without a warrant. However, warrants are not always necessary to get electronic information. This issue has been debated recently in Utah. The US Supreme Court decision of Carpenter v. The US has given some solace to Utah’s privacy advocates in that cell phone location information cannot be disclosed without a warrant, even when a third party has custody over the information. This decision is viewed as a “floor” in that it’s considered minimal protection to private information. The legislature is currently reviewing the Electronic Information or Data Privacy Act (HB 57) requiring that government officials seek warrants before obtaining access to emails, phones, and other types of electronic information.

Salt Lake City, UT Criminal Defense Lawyer Darwin Overson Can Help

If you are concerned about government agent’s procedures to obtain a search warrant in Utah and your private information, schedule your free legal consultation with a dedicated criminal defense lawyer in Utah. Call us at (801) 516-0464.