A search warrant is a judicial authorization which allows the police to search a residence (or other locations) for evidence. If the police enter your house with a search warrant, you must comply with the warrant. This may involve you having to leave your residence for a period of time, or on other occasions turning over your cell phone or other items to the police.
There are many forms of judicial authorizations which allow the police to take specific investigative steps. For example, the police can seek authorization to search a location, intercept your communications, search your cellphone, and retrieve your phone or bank records. To do this, the police must swear an affidavit which outlines their grounds for needing the judicial authorization. A Justice of the Peace or a Justice will review the affidavit and may grant or deny the warrant.
Although, you must comply with a judicial authorization, you can challenge the authorization in court. This can be done by way of a facial or sub-facial challenge. A facial challenge is when you argue that the grounds outlined could not have supported the authorization. A sub-facial challenge is an attack on the information outlined in the affidavit on the basis that it is false, misleading, or the police omitted important information. When conducting a sub-facial challenge, you can allege that the affiant did not fulfill his duty to be full, frank, and fair. This is the affiant’s duty since a search warrant is an ex parte application. You do not have the right to challenge the authorization before it has been granted.
If you or someone you know has been the target of a search warrant, please contact the lawyers of Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh. The lawyers of Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh are regularly challenging judicial authorizations as an unlawful infringement on their client’s Charter-protected interests.