×

We’ve noticed that you’re using an unsupported browser,
which may result in pages displaying incorrectly.

For a better viewing experience, we recommend upgrading to the latest browser version of:

Skip to main content
Are you in QLD?

Please select your location to view information that is specific to you.

Menu
Call Call 1800 555 777
1800 555 777
or let us call you

Let Us Call You

Close

Search Warrants

What is a search warrant and when can one be obtained?

A search warrant is a written order issued by a judicial officer (a judge or magistrate) which authorises police to enter and search premises at a specific time and date for the purposes of seizing evidence that is believed to be connected to the commission of a criminal offence being investigated.

Police may apply for a search warrant if they believe, on reasonable grounds, that there is or will be material, in or on the premises, that is connected with a serious offence.

When can the police enter the premises?

The police can come into your home or premises in the following circumstances:

  • When you give your consent;
  • If the police officer has a properly issued and detailed search warrant;
  • Without a warrant in situations where there is an emergency such as a person injured or about to be harmed;
  • If police have reasonable suspicion they may enter the premise to arrest or to detain someone who is there.

What should you do if police turn up with a search warrant?

The police must tell you that they have a search warrant and that they are at the premises to conduct a search.  They do not have to show you the search warrant unless you request to see it.

You should ask to see the warrant, carefully read it and pay attention to the following:

  • The premises identified;
  • The date and time that the warrant permits police to enter the premises to conduct a search;
  • The specific documents or items that are being searched; and
  • The alleged offence being investigated.

Police do not have a general power to search individuals however, they may search any person in the premises if they reasonably believe that they are concealing items which are connected to the commission of a criminal offence or the warrant.

You can refuse police entry to the premises if:

  • The time and date on the warrant has expired; or
  • The police do not have a warrant.

Police may however, enter the premises without a warrant if:

  • There is an emergency; or
  • To execute an arrest.

What you should not do when police are searching the premises

Do not be angry, rude or impolite.  Searches are often recorded on video camera and anything you say or do may be recorded and used against you.

Often whilst conducting the search, police will attempt to engage the occupiers of the premises and effectively conduct an interview.  You are not required to answer questions or participate in an interview.

Never obstruct or hinder police whilst conducting the search.  Keep in mind that obstructing or hindering police is an offence.

Police powers:

Seizure

Once inside the premises, police may search all of the premises described in the warrant, and may seize and detain any item mentioned in the warrant, or any other item believed on reasonable grounds to be connected with a criminal offence.

Search of persons pursuant to warrant

Police do not have a general power to search individuals however, they may search any person in the premises if they reasonably believe that they are concealing items which are connected to the commission of a criminal offence or the warrant.

The use force to enter and search the premises

Once the police have a valid search warrant and have demanded entry pursuant to the search warrant, they are allowed to enter the premises. If police are refused access, they may use force where reasonably necessary to enter the premises.

Make an enquiry

If you have a question, want some more information or would just like to speak to someone, make an enquiry now and we’ll be in touch with you very soon.

Enquire now