Search Warrants: Various Types & Definitions

A warrant is an order issued by a judge that allows the normal rights of a person privacy to be revoked or altered. There are a number of different warrants that address a variety of actions the courts or law enforcement officials can be allowed to take.

Search Warrant
A search warrant gives law enforcement officers permission to look for evidence in someone’s home, office, vehicle, on their person or somewhere else which is usually considered private and unsearchable under normal conditions. The warrant can be very specific or broad depending on what is being looked for and what the judge approving the order considers reasonable suspicion.

Bench Warrant
When someone intentionally misses a mandated court date a bench warrant will be issued by the judge presiding over the case. The bench warrant will enable law enforcement to apprehend the person named and detain them until they can be brought before the judge. A bench warrant can also be issued if someone fails to adhere to a court order, such as required community service or drug rehabilitation.

Dispossessory Warrant
A more commonly known name for this kind of warrant is an eviction warrant. Dispossessory warrants serve to remove someone from a residence, office space or other property. This is usually the last resort for a landlord, after a number of attempts to get a tenant to vacate and move have failed. The dispossessory warrant gives the landlord permission to remove the tenant’s property from the premises.

Execution Warrant
An execution warrant is issued by the court when someone convicted of a crime is sentenced to death. The execution warrant will indicate the exact time, date, location and manner of the impending execution. Unlike most other warrants a judge will issue, the information entered on an execution warrant is subject to change. The time, date and location of the execution can be altered as the person sentenced to death pursues appeals.

Extradition Warrant
When a suspect in a crime is going to be arrested but has fled or relocated to another state or country, an extradition warrant is issued so the suspect can be returned to the jurisdiction where the crime was committed. The warrant also allows law enforcement to hold the suspect in custody to prevent them from becoming a fugitive again. While extradition warrants from one state to another are often simple to procure, those which move a suspect internationally can be much more complicated.

The official names of different warrants may vary between jurisdictions, but the actions they allow generally stay the same.

Mario often writes about the common questions people have about legal processes. You may visit his website at for more information on criminal law.


Author: Editor

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