Search warrant

Definition
: a warrant authorizing law enforcement officers to conduct a search of a place (as a house or vehicle) or person and usu. also to seize evidence
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that a search warrant for a criminal investigation be issued only upon a showing of probable cause, as established usu. by a sworn affidavit. The search warrant has to specify the premises and persons to be searched as well as what is being searched for. Not all searches require a search warrant. Warrantless searches are permitted when they are of a kind that the courts have found to be reasonable (as by being limited) or when they are prompted by a level of suspicion or belief (as reasonable suspicion or probable cause) that is consistent with the level of intrusion of the search. Some searches have been found to be so intrusive that a court hearing is required before the search is permitted.
3 a  : a short-term obligation of a governmental body (as a municipality) issued in anticipation of revenue
b  : an instrument issued by a corporation giving to the holder the right to purchase the capital stock of the corporation at a stated price either prior to a stipulated date or at any future time <stock ~>
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Based on Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©2001.
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