28 Jul 2022


Arrest and Search Warrant

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Academic level: College

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1.) Briefly describe the difference between an arrest warrant and a search warrant. 

An arrest warrant and search warrant are two distinct elements within a legal framework. The primary difference between the two concepts is that the arrest warrant gives the law enforcers approval to locate, apprehend and detain specific individuals (Herman, 1975). On the other hand, a search warrant provides the law enforcers with authority to search a specified person together with his or her properties. Arrest warrants in most instances are issued after an individual was already arrested while on the other hand, search warrants are issued before any arrest has been made. Additionally, an arrest warrant can be issued after the court has issued charges but search warrants are strictly issued before charges are brought to court. 

2.) What are the three essential components of an arrest warrant or a search warrant? 

Both arrest warrant and search warrant have three critical components that are vital including- they have to be given by detached and neutral magistrates, requires proving of probable cause and lastly, has to be conventional to the Fourth Amendment’s particularity obligation. 

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A neutral and detached magistrate, in this case, would mean that the inferences must not be made by an officer who seems to be engaged in the competitive enterprise of ferreting out crime (Herman, 1975). The courts often focus on the extent to which the magistrates are considered as neutral and detached. 

Showing of probable cause for arrest warrant issuance requires that the officer shows that an individual sought committed a crime in question. However, in the search warrant, a police has to demonstrate probable cause that properties that are to be detained are closely linked to the illegal act, and the items can be found in an area to be searched. 

Conforming to the Fourth Amendment’s particularity obligation is the last essential component. Focusing on particularity in the arrest warrant, in the event an individual believed to be a suspect is known by his or her name, then providing his name would fulfill this condition, but when the name is not known, a particular description of that suspect would be sufficient for a warrant to be issued. In the search warrant, there is the need to detail the position that has to be investigated and spell out the things that are to be detained (Herman, 1975). 

3.) Compare the meaning of probable cause in an arrest warrant to the meaning of probable cause in a search warrant. 

Probable cause simply refers to a requirement that a police officer has enough reasons to arrest an individual, carry out a search or even seize a given property that has been associated with an alleged crime (Rothblatt, 1963). Probable cause for arrest would occur when facts and circumstances within a police officer’s knowledge direct a reasonable individual to believe that an individual suspect has committed a crime. 

According to Rothblatt (1963), probable cause to search on the other hand would exist when the facts and circumstances that are known to an officer’s knowledge offers a basement for a reasonable individual to believe that a particular crime was committed at a specified place that is to be searched and evidence exists at that location. 

4.) Why do you think a search warrant requires probable cause that the items to be seized are in the location to be searched, but an arrest warrant does not have the same requirement? 

The police are not required to illustrate probable cause that an individual who in this case is a suspect can be found at a specified location. For an arrest warrant, the police will be mandated to establish probable cause that a crime was committed by a given individual. Therefore, it would make no difference where he or she might be located because they can be arrested anywhere when spotted. This would imply that the location of the suspect is not a determinant that he or she committed the said crime (Lerner, 2002). 


Herman, L. (1975). Warrants for Arrest or Search: Impeaching the Allegations of a Facially Sufficent Affidavit. Ohio St. LJ , 36 , 721. 

Lerner, C. S. (2002). Reasonableness of Probable Cause, The. Tex. L. Rev. , 81 , 951. 

Rothblatt, H. B. (1963). Arrest: Probable Cause and Search without a Search Warrant, The. Miss. LJ , 35 , 252. 

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