Search Warrants

Law enforcement officers often have to search for evidence to assist in a criminal investigation. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. But, what is an “unreasonable” search or seizure? According to the Constitution, an unreasonable search or seizure is one conducted without a probable cause.

Thus, law enforcement must obtain a search warrant based on probable cause that is supported by affirmation to begin their search.

Upon an application of an officer, a local criminal court may issue a search warrant. A search warrant allows an officer to legally search a person's premise, vehicle, or his or her person so long as the search warrant sufficiently describes the persons, things, or places to be searched.

There are certain circumstances when a police officer does not need a search warrant, such as during the hot pursuit of a suspect, or incident to a lawful arrest.

If a criminal case involves the validity of a search warrant, it is imperative to seek legal guidance to ensure that an officer had the requisite legal justification for a search.

Attorney for Search Warrant in Queens, New York

If you have had your possessions searched under the premise of a search warrant or have questions about the legality of a search warrant, contact Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner to learn more.

It is your right under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution to be secure in your own home and possession; therefore you cannot be subjected to an unreasonable search or seizure.

Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner have years of experience handling criminal defense cases and search warrants. If you need legal aid in the New York City area, Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner practices in these counties: Queens County, Kings County, New York County, and Bronx County.

Call Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today at 718-261-5600 to discuss your legal options with an initial consultation.



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Search Warrants in New York City

A police officer or other authorized public servant submits an affidavit to a local criminal court to obtain a search warrant. In its most basic definition, a search warrant allows law enforcement to conduct a search of a designated premise, object, or person, otherwise protected under the Fourth Amendment.

The definition of a valid search warrant in New York under Statute § 690.05 is:

  • The search of a designated premise, vehicle or person for the purpose of seizing a kind of property so it may be delivered to the court that issued the warrant;
  • The search of a designated premise for the purpose of searching for or arresting a person who is the subject of a warrant of arrest.

A search warrant that is issued by a district court, New York City criminal court, or a superior court judge that is sitting as the judge of a local criminal court may be executed anywhere in New York. On the other hand, a search warrant issued by a city court, a town court, or a village court can only be executed in the county of issuance or an adjoining county.

Additionally, a search warrant must be executed within ten days of issuance and can be executed any day of the week but only between the hours of 6:00am to 9:00pm. A search warrant can only be executed outside of the designated hours if it is formally requested and granted by the court.


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Property Subject to Seizure by Search Warrant

New York Statute § 690.10 states that law enforcement officers, pursuant to a search warrant, can seize personal property if there is reasonable cause to believe that the property has be stolen, unlawfully possessed in some manner, or was the subject or catalyst in some other criminal activity. Also, if the property constitutes evidence or can be used to demonstrate that an offense was committed at some time it can be seized.

Furthermore, NY Statute § 690.55 directs the disposition of property once it has been seized. When the court is in control of the property, it must continue to retain the property until further disposition. Or, the person who applied for the search warrant or the police officer who seized the property will continue to hold it, until delivered to the court. If such evidence is required by another court, then the court in possession must deliver the seized property.


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The Search Warrant Application

An application of a search warrant may either be given in writing or administered orally. If the application is made in writing, then it has to be made, subscribed, and sworn to by a public servant. If it is oral, the public servant has to be recorded while he or she makes and swears to the application.

The application has to be made to a local criminal court that has preliminary or geographical jurisdiction over the underlying offense or premise. Though if the local criminal court cannot issue the warrant, criminal courts of adjoining towns and villages may issue the warrant.

In order for an application or a search warrant to be valid in New York, under NY Code of Criminal Procedure 690.35(3), a the application must contain the following:

  • The name and title of the applicant;
  • The name of the court;
  • A statement that there is reasonable cause to believe that property of a criminal nature may be found at the designated place, vehicle, or upon a person; or in the case of a person that there is reasonable cause to believe that the a person who is subjected to a warrant for arrest may be found at designated place;
  • Allegations of fact that support the statement, whether it be based upon personal knowledge of the applicant or information and belief provided that will be stated after the search warrant is executed; the applicant may also present depositions of other persons containing allegations of fact supporting or tending to support those contained in the application; and
  • In the case of an application for a search warrant to search a place and arrest an individual, a copy of the arrest warrant and the underlying accusatory instrument should be included.

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Additional Resources

New York State Law | Article 690 – This website contains all of New York Law, including Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Law, and more. Learn more about search warrants, article 690, and NY Statute § 690.05.


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Find an Attorney in Queens County, New York

If you believe that your property has been seized or searched unlawfully, or if you have any questions regarding the validity of a search warrant that has been executed on your property, contact Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner for legal guidance.

Rochelle Berliner has a reputation over the years as an established, trustworthy law firm with years of experience of criminal defense in Queens County, New York. Having an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference if you are facing criminal charges. We fight for the rights of criminal defendants from beginning to end.

If you need legal guidance anywhere in Queens County, Kings County, New York County, or Bronx County, Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner will help you each step of the way.

Call Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner today at 718-261-5600 to schedule a free consultation.


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Rochelle Berliner
Rochelle Berliner

Rochelle Berliner grew up in Queens, NY. She started New York Law School in January 1989 and graduated in June 1991. Immediately after law school, she started working at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where she stayed for approximately 14 years...

  • National Police Accountability Project
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
  • New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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