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Understanding the different types of warrants

If you're involved in a criminal investigation in Maryland, there are a few different types of warrants that may be issued. Four main examples are noted below:

A Search Warrant

This is one of the most common types of warrants that can be used. It typically just means that the police can come into a residence, even without the permission of the person who lives there, to conduct a search. Without this warrant, officers can knock and ask to be granted entry, but it is generally fully legal for you to deny them entry.

A No-Knock Warrant

This is a special type of warrant that allows for a sudden, unannounced entry. Typically, it is issued if the court determines that the officers would be in danger after knocking or that evidence would be destroyed. These are often used in drug cases.

An Arrest Warrant

A standard arrest warrant will be given out when there is probable cause to bring someone in. This does not mean that the person is guilty, but that evidence suggests an arrest can be made and a trial may be needed. It's worth noting that police don't have to get a warrant before arresting you in all cases.

A Bench Warrant

This is a special arrest warrant that the court can hand out for those who have been indicted or held in contempt of court.

It's important to understand the differences between these warrants because the way that they are used can have a big impact on your personal rights and the potential criminal case itself. If you think that the authorities have not executed the warrant properly, for example, or that they carried out an illegal action without the right warrant, you may have options to get evidence removed from court.

Source: FIndLaw, "Warrant," accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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