Eli5: how do warrants work?


How does it work if the police have a warrant for your arrest or to search your vehicle?

In: 5

It’s like a police hallway pass handed out by a judge to search your house/property. I’m not a lawyer

Cops can’t just do whatever they want. If they want to search an area, such as a house or a car, they need one of three things:

* Consent from the owner

* Reasonable suspicion that evidence of criminal activity exists within it. Reasonable suspicion is more than a hunch and must be substantiated after the fact.

* or a warrant. A warrant is a paper signed by a judge saying “The police may search this area because xyz”. The police may only search the area described in the warrant.

Varies wildly depending on country. Are you curious about one in particular?

Warrants and specific probable cause are foundational to a democracy. They are “grass roots” for individual liberty. Without these bumpers being constantly fought for in the justice system the word “freedom” would be meaningless.

Also note there’s such thing as administrative warrants that aren’t criminal in nature. I’ve had to obtain warrants before and I’m not a cop.