35+ Years Criminal Defense Experience in California


Federal Warrants: Federal Search and Seizure Warrantless Search and Seizure

Execution of Federal Search Warrants

If you are ever contacted by federal agents as part of a search and seizure of your person or property, the first thing you should do is contact a California federal criminal lawyer because the federal criminal justice system is a frightening place to be, and you have specific constitutional rights that must be protected. Your federal criminal attorneys at Wallin & Klarich provide you with the elements you need to know in order to prepare yourself if you find yourself in a situation involving federal warrants.

Protection under the 4th Amendment

A federal criminal lawyer at Wallin & Klarich will ensure your rights under the Fourth Amendment are protected.
A federal criminal lawyer at Wallin & Klarich can challenge the legality of a search and seizure of a person and/or property.

The 4th Amendment provides that the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated….” This protects two distinct types of expectations pertaining to federal warrants, one involving searches and the other seizures.

  • A search occurs when an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to consider reasonable is infringed
  • A seizure of property occurs when there is some meaningful interference with an individual’s possessory interests in that property
  • A seizure of a person denotes a meaningful interference, however brief, with an individual’s freedom of movement

Importance of Contacting an Experienced Federal Criminal Lawyer

The legality of a search and seizure of a person and/or property can potentially be challenged by a federal criminal lawyer at Wallin & Klarich. To establish viable grounds for a claim, counsel must have:

  • A legitimate expectation of privacy by the client
  • Governmental action that violates that expectation

The 4th Amendment only protects against searches by the U.S. government against “persons” affiliated with U.S.; it does not apply to the acts of private citizens, the acts of foreign officials, or the acts of U.S. officials in foreign countries against foreign citizens. In sum, a federal criminal defense lawyer will have to identify something tantamount to government action against a person connected to the U.S. to have a valid claim.

Federal Search and Seizure of Property

federal warrant
Police may ask to search you or your property with a federal warrant.

Even when federal warrants are issued and may have been provided during the search and seizure, there still may be hope of excluding those incriminating items and keeping you out of jail.

Federal warrants may only be issued upon a showing to a neutral magistrate that probable cause exists to support the proposed search. The U.S. Supreme Court has described “probable cause” as a “fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place.” However, it also found probable cause to be a “fluid concept.”

Your Federal Criminal Lawyer MUST Challenge the Legality of the Federal Warrant

Even though the court must employ a totality-of-the-circumstances approach to evaluating probable cause for federal warrants, there are still recurring issues that a federal criminal defense lawyer should consider when challenging the legality of the federal warrant:

  • Tainted evidence in the agent’s supporting affidavit
  • False statements or omissions in the supporting affidavit
  • Reliability of information provided by an informant
  • Staleness of the information supporting the warrant
  • The specificity of the place to be searched
  • The particularity of the items to be seized
  • Sufficient nexus between the criminal conduct alleged and place where the items are to be found
  • Anticipatory warrant based upon probable cause that at some future time certain evidence of a crime will be located at a specified place
  • Possible defects in telephonic warrants
  • Defects in the execution of a search warrant

Challenging a Warrantless Federal Search and Seizure

While the 4th Amendment generally requires that peace officers obtain federal warrants based upon probable cause to justify a search and seizure, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that a brief, investigative detention is an exception to the federal warrants rule. However, a “warrantless 4th Amendment seizure needs an objective and particularized justification.”

Defining the event that took place will determine the success of the federal criminal lawyer’s motions in many cases. If the event is a consensual encounter, no suspicion of criminal activity is needed. If it is a brief investigative stop, reasonable suspicion of criminal activity is required. If it is an actual arrest, the probable cause is necessary.

Issues to Evaluate When Considering Whether Federal Agent Contact was Legally Justified:

  • Overcoming the Government’s claim of a consensual encounter
  • Challenging the brief investigative stop as lacking reasonable suspicion
    1. uncorroborated anonymous tip
    2. reliance on race
    3. boilerplate claim of “high-crime area”
    4. flight involved
    5. pretext stops
    6. prolonged detention
    7. reasonable suspicion dissipated

Let our Federal Criminal Lawyers Show You How We Protect our Own

federal criminal defense attorneys
Our federal criminal defense attorneys can help you now!

The experienced California federal criminal defense lawyer at Wallin & Klarich can help you if you are charged with a federal crime in Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina or San Diego. With over 30 years of experience as Federal Criminal Lawyers, Wallin & Klarich will assist you in this difficult time.

We will get through this together. For a free consultation with one of our federal criminal attorneys today, call (877) 466-5245 or fill out our confidential case review form. We will be there when you call.

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