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What is a Sneak & Peek Warrant?

"Sneak and peek" warrants allow a law enforcement official to enter someone's property without first informing them and conducting a search.

The Legalization of Sneak & Peek Warrants

Sneak and peek warrants were originally established as a means of combatting serious organized crime and terrorism but their use has been greatly expanded in recent years. Police are first required to obtain a judge's approval and can then enter private property without the knowledge of the occupant. One of the trademarks of a sneak and peek search is that police do not enter until they know the occupant will not be there.

When the police present a search warrant to a judge, the judge must be convinced that one of five things will take place if the search is not performed.

These criteria include:

  • Endangerment of physical safety
  • Evidence will be tampered with
  • An individual will abscond prosecution
  • Possible witnesses will be affected
  • An investigation or trial would be impacted

Police officers are not, however, required to immediately report that they performed a search. The average time of informing the subject of the search is 90 days, but some police officers wait up to a year.

Studies have shown that these sneak and peek searches are increasing throughout the United States, with most judges approving the warrant. Furthermore, research also indicates that while they were intended to combat organized crime and terrorism, the majority of sneak and peek searches have actually been performed on U.S. civilians.

It is important to be aware of your constitutional rights and what may be affecting them. If you believe your rights were violated, our Miami federal criminal defense attorney would be honored to speak with you. Contact our firm today!