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Search Warrant

Many people learn about a criminal investigation when officers descend on their home or office to serve a search warrant. In addition to a home or office, officers can also use a search warrant to take your vehicle, a hair sample, your fingerprints, your DNA, or even your blood. 

Attorney for Search Warrants in Las Vegas, Nevada

If you were served with an administrative or criminal search warrant, then call us to discuss your case. In many of these cases, getting the evidence obtained during the execution of the search warrant is important.

James Gallo is familiar with the tactics used by officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the Clark County Sheriff's Office and other local law enforcement agencies. When a mistake is made, James Gallo is experienced in filing and litigating a motion to suppress the evidence illegally obtain. In some cases, if evidence is suppressed, the entire case might be dismissed. 

Throughout Nevada, James Gallo represents clients against serious felony charges filed in the Las Vegas Justice Court by the Clark County District Attorney's office. Call Gallo Law Office today. 

Process of Obtaining a Search Warrant in Las Vegas, NV

As part of an complaint and investigation, the officer will often seek a search warrant to search a home, vehicle or other property. The officers will prepare an "Application for a Search and Seizure Warrant" and the proposed "Search Warrant." 

The paperwork will list a description of the probable cause obtained by the officers that justify the search warrant. The officers will then take the paperwork to be signed by a judge. After the warrant is signed, the officers will execute the search warrant. 

Probable Cause to Support the Search Warrant in Nevada

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 18 of the Nevada Constitution prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures. Probable cause is the standard by which a search's reasonableness is tested, and the type of probable cause necessary to support a search warrant differs depending on the objective of the search. See Marshall v. Barlow's, Inc., 436 U.S. 307, 320, 98 S.Ct. 1816, 56 L.Ed.2d 305 (1978); Camara v. Mun. Court, 387 U.S. 523, 534, 87 S.Ct. 1727, 18 L.Ed.2d 930 (1967). 

Challenges to Search Warrants in Nevada

Attorneys in these cases often challenge the validity of the search warrant based on:

  • the veracity of the search warrant affidavit under Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978); 
  • whether the search warrant affidavit was sufficient to establish probable cause. 

Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154, 98 S.Ct. 2674, 57 L.Ed.2d 667 (1978) is the seminal decision addressing a challenge to the validity of a search warrant based on the veracity of the supporting search warrant  affidavit. In determining whether a criminal defendant may challenge the validity of the search warrant by attacking the search warrant affidavit, the Franks Court confirmed that search warrant affidavits are entitled to a presumption of validity. 438 U.S. at 171, 98 S.Ct. 2674. 

Despite this presumption, if the search warrant affidavits were not subject to impeachment, then the probable cause requirement would be a nullity, as government officials could deliberately falsify information with impunity. Id. at 168. Thus, the Franks Court concluded an evidentiary hearing is required in the following circumstances:

  1. "the defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that a false statement knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth, was included by the affiant in the warrant affidavit," and
  2. "the allegedly false statement is necessary to the finding of probable cause" or concerns the omission of a material fact. Id. at 155–56, 98 S.Ct. 2674.

Even when a search warrant affidavit includes a false statement, an evidentiary hearing is not required if, after the false statement is purged, the search warrant affidavit remains sufficient to support a finding of probable cause. Franks, 438 U.S. at 171–72, 98 S.Ct. 2674. In the criminal context, Franks issues generally arise prior to trial during suppression hearings where the trial court is necessarily the finder of fact. 

Reckless disregard for the truth may be shown by establishing that the warrant affiant entertained serious doubts with regard to the truth of the search warrant affidavit's allegations. United States v. Williams, 737 F.2d 594, 602 (7th Cir.1984) (citing St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. 727, 731, 88 S.Ct. 1323, 20 L.Ed.2d 262 (1968)) (concluding that the First Amendment definition of reckless disregard for the truth is applicable in the Franks context). 

A party attacking the veracity of a search warrant affidavit may also establish reckless disregard for the truth inferentially “from circumstances evincing ‘obvious reasons to doubt the veracity' of the allegations” in the search warrant affidavit. Id. (quoting St. Amant, 390 U.S. at 732, 88 S.Ct. 1323).

Conclusory assertions and allegations of negligence or innocent mistake are often insufficient to warrant an evidentiary hearing. 438 U.S. at 171, 98 S.Ct. 2674. And a criminal defendant seeking to attack a search warrant affidavit cannot rely on the false statements of any nongovernmental informant but, rather, must limit his or her challenge to the deliberate falsity or reckless disregard of the affiant. Id.  

Attorney for Search Warrants in Clark County, NV

If you were served with a search warrant in Clark County or Las Vegas, Nevada, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Gallo Law Office. We can help you understand the best ways to fight for the suppression of evidence illegally obtained. In some cases, the suppression of the evidence seized by an invalid warrant can lead to a complete dismissal of the charges. 

James Gallo represents clients on an outstanding arrest warrant issued in a felony or misdemeanor cases. He also represents clients after a search warrant is served at their home or office. Call (702) 385-3131 today to discuss your case. 


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