I recently had a client ask me if search warrants expired. The answer is yes, they do! First, a search warrant must state the time and date that it was issued. Although the absence of this information will not necessarily make the warrant invalid, this information must be proved by other evidence. The law requires that the search warrant has to take place “forthwith.” Under the statute, the warrant should be returned if it is not executed within 15 days.
This means that search warrants basically expire after 15 days and the use of an expired search warrant would be an illegal search. Also, search warrants executed within the 15 day limit may also be stale because the probably cause for the warrant may no longer be valid. Probably cause may expire because of just time or because a change in the surrounding facts. Please contact Gene Cox at Coxfedlaw, LLC for a free consultation if you have questions about search warrants or other criminal law matters.