Police officers and Sheriff's Deputies in Denver, Arapahoe, and Jefferson County are able to obtain warrants from a judge if they want to arrest someone, or search their property. The process for them to get these warrants is very one-sided; a police officer meets alone with a judge and explains why they believe they should make an arrest or do a search. The judge listens to only one opinion (the police officer's) and decides whether or not there is “probable cause” for a warrant to be signed. No one else is present during this meeting – you don't have a say in the process. Let's look closer at the types of warrants in Colorado, how they are executed, and what you should do if your privacy has been violated.
Two Types of Warrants in Colorado
There are two types of warrants in Douglas, El Paso, and Adams County; they are arrest warrants and search warrants. Both are designed to seize a person or gain access to a person's private property. Both are invasive into your privacy. The purpose of an arrest warrant is to get permission from a judge to make an arrest. The purpose of a search warrant is usually to gather more evidence in order to make an arrest. Usually, warrants are only utilized for more serious offenses which justify making an arrest or search. Smaller misdemeanor offenses can be charged by summons rather than arrest. Let's take a look at each type in order to understand how they work.
Arrest Warrants in Colorado
If a Denver, Aurora, or Littleton police officer speaks with an alleged victim and they are convinced you are guilty of a serious crime, they will obtain an arrest warrant. The purpose of an arrest warrant in Centennial, Arvada, or Greenwood Village is to remove the person from their support system before they can escape or contact a criminal defense lawyer for insight and to be advised of their rights. This isolation is crucial for the prosecution's case. You will be arrested and held in a county jail, away from friends, family, and access to lawyers. While in jail, Lakewood, Englewood, and Sheridan police can try to pressure you to talk, attempt to get a confession, and gather evidence unimpeded. If a person confesses to a crime, this is the best evidence that can be presented to the jury by the prosecution.
If the police are investigating a crime and need more evidence to bring a case to trial, they will obtain a search warrant. Prosecutors often need more than just the testimony of an alleged victim to win a case. The police go to a magistrate or judge and tell them why obtaining a search warrant will help them prove their case. They give specific examples of what they might find inside a car, residence, or business which will help their case. They must establish “probable cause” for entering private property. In other words, they must explain why it is alright to invade your privacy. This is done in the form of an Affidavit for Search Warrant, which explains why their request is appropriate. If a judge signs the warrant, it will allow the police to search your home, property, or car in order to find evidence of criminal activity.
Both types of warrants are invasive into your privacy.
Contact a lawyer if you've been the subject of either warrant.
How Arrest Warrants are Executed
When an arrest warrant is executed in El Paso, Boulder, or Pitkin County, the police go to homes and businesses looking for the person they are going to arrest. As criminal defense attorneys, we have seen the police go out of their way to embarrass our clients by making the arrest in front of coworkers or neighbors. Police officers are often power-hungry. They think this embarrassment is justified because you have exercised your right to remain silent and refused to speak with them.
After a Meeting
Often, the police will ask you to come to the police station to talk. During this meeting they gather evidence to use against you in court. At the end of this meeting, they arrest you anyway, only now you have provided statements and evidence against yourself.
Give Up Your Rights
Another tactic used by the police is to allow you to turn yourself in after speaking with them. Unfortunately, by talking, you are simply providing evidence for them to use against you in court. It is better to remain silent by exercising your Miranda Rights.
The police love to make a show of force by showing up at your home or business and arresting you in front of friends and family. They will take you into custody quickly, not allowing you to gather your things, call a friend, or even get dressed.
How Search Warrants are Executed
When the police execute a search warrant, they aren't usually friendly or considerate. Instead, they will rudely interrupt you at work or home. If you aren't there to answer the door, they will break it down. The police often cause damage and make messes during their search. In cases involving digital media, they will seize all electronic devices, such as computers, laptops, flash drives, external hard drives, iPods, tablets, video cameras, and cameras. During the execution of search warrants, the police will try to talk to you in order to gather evidence. We advise you not to speak with the police while they execute the search warrant. The police don't want to hear your side of the story – they only want to gather more evidence to use against you in the courtroom.
What Happens after a Search Warrant is Executed
Colorado law requires the police to make an inventory of the items they seized from your home, and what was searched after executing a search warrant. The next step is for them is to file a return of the warrant with the judge, listing what was taken and the status of the warrant.
What Happens after an Arrest Warrant is Executed
After a person is arrested, they will be quickly brought in front of a judge, who will advise them of their rights and will explain the charges against them. The judge will also set the bond amount, which can be paid to get out of jail. In some serious cases, a person can be held without bond. A Protection Order is issued in every criminal case, regardless of the circumstances. This is done to protect the alleged victim by preventing you from contacting, harassing, or bothering them.
Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested, or your home or business has been searched, don't hesitate to contact one of the knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys at O'Malley and Sawyer, LLC. We have a thorough understanding of the U.S. and Colorado Constitution warrant standards. We know what is lawful for arrest and search warrants. There are many rules, such as the “plain site” rule, and other parameters. If we believe a search or arrest was unlawful, we are often able to suppress evidence in the courtroom. Overeager police are common factors in our client's cases, and we are used to fighting an ongoing battle with law enforcement that exceeds legal limits and violate your privacy. Don't stand alone and fight against the police – work with attorneys who know when you are being taken advantage of, and can help you fight back. The skilled lawyers at our office are able to help in a variety of ways. If you have been arrested, we are able to visit you in jail and discuss a reasonable bond amount with the judge.