What Is Required to Search?

Police Door Search Warrant SWAT


Modified Transcript for “What Is Required To Search?” for the Hearing Impaired:


SEE RELATED: Form and Content of the Search Warrant


Chapter 15A-246 explains what is required to search, generally speaking, in a North Carolina Search Warrant.  While not an exhaustive list, the North Carolina General Statutes set forth:

  • Name and Signature of the Issuing Official
  • Time and Date of Issuance
  • To Whom the Warrant is Addressed – Name of Officer(s) or Classification of Officers
  • Names of the Applicant
  • Names of All Affiants or Testifying Witnesses Given In Support of Application for Search Warrant
  • Sufficient Designation of Premises, Vehicles or Persons to be Searched.
  • Items that are Object of Search and Authorized to be Seized



The purpose of this video is just to explain, as a starting point, what we’re looking for.


Remember a search warrant is issued because you have a 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.


Now, what is reasonable, what is unreasonable, depends upon the facts and circumstances of a case. If police have good information about something being illegal and hidden on certain premises, whether it’s your house or your car, they can go to a judicial official … it may be a magistrate judge, it may be a district court or superior court judge .. and they may, under oath or affirmation basically swear to that judicial official this is what they suspect, this is the basis of what they suspect, and then the judicial official listens to that and adds a level of impartiality which means the police just don’t get to decide.


SEE RELATED:  Who May Issue a Search Warrant 



Who May Issue a Search Warrant 2015
When they issue this search warrant, normally the person saying, “Yes, you can search,” the magistrate or judge puts their name down on it, puts down the date and time and the location, the premises of where things are to be searched, basically what they’re looking for, who is to do the searching meaning whether it’s a particular police officer or an agency or a group.






It tends to be a little bit complicated






SEE RELATED:  Form and Content of a Search Warrant

SEE RELATED:  Powers of Magistrates in Infractions and Criminal Actions

SEE RELATED:  Additional Powers of District Court Judges


It’s very fact-specific and don’t just assume because there was a search warrant issued that it was done properly.  There are some complicated aspects of the processing of search warrants, the obtaining of search warrants, and the service of search warrants.

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Bill Powers
2412 Arty Avenue
Charlotte, North Carolina 28208


Bill Powers included in SuperLawyers Magazine 2016 Top 100 for North Carolina

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