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What Should I Do if the Police Arrive with a Search Warrant?

 Posted on January 12, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Joliet criminal defense lawyerMost people dread the prospect of the police showing up at their house. The police showing up is bad enough, but what if they arrive with a search warrant? This is likely to make even the calmest, most even-keeled person nervous, and rightfully so. Having your home searched is far from a pleasant experience, regardless of whether you have anything to hide. Because of the highly stressful situation, people whose house is being searched may act out and demonstrate behaviors they would not regularly engage in. 

Unfortunately, acting out rashly while the police search your home will likely result in additional legal difficulties and even criminal prosecution. That is why it is essential to know how to act and what to do if the police ever show up at your door with a search warrant. If this has happened to you, you must contact a criminal defense attorney who will work to ensure your rights remain protected and that you understand your options moving forward. 

Tips for Handling a Search Warrant  

We see it often in the movies or on television: as soon as the police show up yelling that they have a search warrant, the occupants of the home run and hide or try and pretend they are not home. However, these types of actions will likely increase your legal liability. To handle the situation well, here are few things you can and should do:  

  • Ask to see the warrant – While this may not always be possible since sometimes the police will open the door and immediately detain you, do your best to ask to see the warrant. If you genuinely have no clue why the police are at your house, check the address on the warrant. It may be possible the officers are searching the wrong house.
  • Listen and follow instructions – As soon as you realize that the police are at your house with a search warrant, open the door when asked. They may break it down if you do not open the door. If an officer tells you to stand in a specific spot in the house, listen to them. If the officer tells you to lie down and put your hands behind your back, listen to them. Do not resist, even if you believe the actions of the police officer are unfounded. Keep your hands visible at all times and make no sudden movements.
  • Stay quiet – Quite literally, the less you say, the better. Tell the officers you would like to speak to an attorney as soon as you are able. In some cases, but not all, saying that you would like to speak with an attorney may stop the officers from pressing you further with questions in an effort for you to say something incriminating. 
  • Do not help the officers – If the police ask you a question, such as to show them where the drugs are, do not help them. They may even try to say that helping them will ease your legal liability. However, do not listen. All the officers want is for you to demonstrate that you indeed had some knowledge that criminal activity was taking place at your residence. 

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been served with a search warrant, the smartest thing you can do is contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The knowledgeable Joliet criminal defense attorneys at McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC will work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected and that a positive outcome can be pursued on your behalf. Call 815-727-0100 for a free consultation.




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