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What to Do When the Police Arrive With a Search Warrant

 Posted on September 29, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Joliet criminal defense lawyerHearing a knock on the door when you were not expecting anyone can be anything from annoying to alarming. When the knock is aggressive and followed by a call of, “Police! Search Warrant!” it is normal to feel afraid. You may or may not know why the police are interested in searching your home, but the search will occur either way. Having your home searched can be terrifying, or even deadly in some cases. It is important to respond correctly when the police arrive with a warrant to search your living space. Common errors made by a suspect during a search could impact any criminal prosecution that may result from the search.

It is difficult to retain composure during this frequently intimidating process. You will need to maintain a cooperative demeanor - even if you are arrested - without inadvertently making an incriminating admission. As soon as possible, you must then contact a criminal defense attorney. 

Guidelines for Handling a Search Warrant

Your instinct may be to run away out the back door or to hide somewhere, but these courses of actions are likely to lead to more complications. Guidelines for addressing the situation well when the police arrive with a search warrant include: 

  • Follow instructions - Open the door when they ask you to. They will break it down otherwise. If they tell you to stand in a specific spot, do so. If they order you to lay on the ground and put your hands up, do it, no matter how obnoxious or unnecessary the officer’s directions may be. Keep your hands visible and make no sudden movements. 
  • Keep quiet - The less you say to the police, the better. Tell them that you want to speak to a lawyer - this should stop them from asking you further questions that could produce an incriminating answer. 
  • Do not help - The police may try asking you and other occupants questions like, “Where are the drugs?” They may say, “It will be better for you if you just tell us. Then we can help you and tell the prosecutor you cooperated.” This is generally a complete falsehood. Helping the police locate whatever evidence they are looking for will likely be used to show that you were at least aware of the alleged criminal activity taking place in your home. 
  • Ask to see the warrant - This is not always possible if the police behave in a particularly aggressive manner and instantly handcuff everyone in sight. However, if you can, you should ask to see the warrant. (If you genuinely do not know why the police are searching your residence, check the address - police do sometimes search the wrong apartment or house.) It should provide some information about what the police think is happening and what they are looking for. 

The best thing you can do for yourself after the police serve a search warrant on your home is to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. 

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney

McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC can begin working to help you as soon as you contact us. Our experienced Joliet criminal defense attorneys can fight for you if you are charged with a crime as a result of the search. Contact us at 815-727-0100 for a free consultation. 




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