What Constitutes Probable Cause for a Search Warrant in Texas?

judge on phone looking at documents

When the police arrive at your home and accuse you of committing a crime, they may want to look in your home or vehicle for evidence. It’s imperative to note that you do not have to consent to a search. However, if the police have a search warrant, you are required to allow them to conduct a search. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules surrounding warrants and probable cause, as there are laws in place to help protect you. If you believe you are the victim of an unreasonable search and seizure, you’ll want to connect with Houston criminal defense attorneys. Keep reading to learn more about what you must know if you are accused of committing a crime.

What Is a Search Warrant?

A search warrant is a document the police must obtain to legally search your home or property.

It’s important to understand that the police must demonstrate probable cause to obtain a search warrant. The courts will not grant an officer or agency a search warrant without illustrating why they believe a crime has been committed.

Once an officer has a search warrant, they are legally allowed to enter your home and search your property. In Texas, they must first knock and present you with the warrant. If you do not consent or comply, but they have given you the warrant, it does not impact the legality of the warrant. However, the warrant may have limitations about what areas of your property they are allowed to search.

What Does Probable Cause Include?

For a search warrant to be granted and an arrest to be made, probable cause must be present. This is because this is a right protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

When police submit a request for a search warrant to a judge, they must attach an affidavit. In this affidavit, they must explain why they believe there is probable cause that a crime has occurred. To establish probable cause, the police can utilize the following sources to petition for a warrant:

  • An informant directly tied to the alleged crime
  • A victim of the crime
  • A witness to the crime

In addition to providing sources related to the case, the police must also explain what crime they believe has been committed and what evidence they will likely uncover as the search is executed.

What Should I Do if My Constitutional Rights Were Violated?

If you were the victim of an unconstitutional search, whether the police did not have a warrant or the warrant is invalid, it’s imperative to connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Your attorney can help file a motion to suppress evidence collected because of an unconstitutional search and seizure. If successful, the prosecution will not be able to present that evidence during your trial. This can help weaken the prosecution case against you, meaning you may have a better chance at a favorable outcome.

As you can see, there are many nuances surrounding search warrants and probable cause. That’s why it’s in your best interest to connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you are under arrest or searched because the police believe you have committed a crime. At the Gonzalez Law Group, our dedicated legal team understands how complex these matters can be. That’s why we will do everything possible to help fight to protect your rights. Connect with us today to learn more.