Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Law and Argument: Virginia Search Warrant Law

II. Law and Argument: Virginia Search Warrant Law

Virginia search warrant law requires that search warrants may issue upon reasonable and probable cause. Va.Code §19.2-52. The following things may be seized upon specification in the warrant:

(1) weapons or other objects used in the commission of the crime;

(2) Articles or things the sale or possession of which is unlawlul;

(3) Stolen property or the fruits of any crime; and

(4) Any abject, thing, or person, including without limitation, documents, books, papers, records or body fluids, constituting evidence of the commission of crime...

Va.Code §19.2-53.

The affidavit supporting the search warrant must:

"... reasonably describ[e] the place, thing, or person to be searched, the things or persons to be searched for thereunder, alleging briefly material facts, constituting the probable cause for the issuance of such warrant and alleging substantially the offense in relation to which such search is to be made and that the object, thing or person searched for constitutes evidence of the commission of such offense.”

Va Code §19.2-54. (Emphasis supplied)

The warrant must, inter alia, describe the property or person to be searched for and “recite that the magistrate has found probable cause to believe that the property or person constitutes evidence of a crime (identified in the warrant) or tends to show that a person (named or described therein) has committed or is committing a crime.” Va §19.2-56.

“The warrant shall be executed by the search of the place described... and, If property described in the warrant is found there, by the seizure of the property.” Va,Code §19.2-57.