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What can be seized with a warrant in Washington?

Having a warrant out for one's arrest can be an exceptionally stressful situation. Sometimes people charged with a crime don't understand the judicial system, don't have the financial resources to pay fines and fees related to their case, and many others may fear having their rights infringed upon or otherwise being taken advantage of by a system they don't understand. A Spokane criminal defense attorney can assist a person who currently has a warrant out for his or her arrest or who has been recently charged with a drug crime.

In Washington State, a warrant may also be used for the purpose of search and seizure. A search warrant is issued by the court and can be requested by either a prosecutor or a peace officer. However, it can be issued only if there is "probable cause" for the warrant's issuance. In other words, there must be valid evidence supporting the request made by the officer or prosecuting attorney who requested the warrant. This evidence may be in the form of sworn testimony or affidavits.

What can be potentially seized with a search warrant in Washington State? Usually its primary purpose is to search for evidence of a crime. For example, evidence of drug offenses might include drug paraphernalia such as pipes or bongs, syringes, large amounts of cash or illegal substances themselves. A warrant may also be used to search for contraband, or things that are criminally possessed or the results of a crime such as cash or weapons. A warrant may also be used to look for items that indicate a crime is reasonably expected to imminently occur.

There are very specific rules and procedures for issuing a warrant, searching someone's property, seizing property from an individual and using the results of these searches in the courtroom. Someone who has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, drug possession and the like may benefit from seeking the advice of an attorney who understands the ins and outs of search and seizure as well as criminal defense in general.

Source: Washington Courts, "CrR Rule 2.3: Search and Seizure," accessed June 4, 2016

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