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Is a search warrant valid if the date is printed incorrect? Or can this be considered a typo in the courts eyes.

Toms River, NJ |

A search warrant was done on my resident, but the warrant had the right day and month but the wrong year printed on it. It was plain to see,but the judge still signed off on it.

Attorney Answers 3


If the Jude had the warrant and affidavit and other papers and the affidavit was assuredly in 2012, or there was other info that the this was not initiated a year ago, the typo on the warrant (a) may not have been noticed {don't we all live back int 2011? I know I do most of the time}, and (b) if the Judge initialed and corrected the year, would the result have been different?

Suppression is done on probable cause. NJ (if that is your state) would have to have a very stringent law to cause the search to be undone based upon one date on one of the papers being incorrect (or is this federal).

Assuming that articles or persons were found, what if you get relief, by making the judge prepare a warrant with the correct date?

Was any contraband found?

Tactically, I'd use the date with my arguments to SUPPRESS on the grounds that it was done in haste and not considered (as to the substance). In effect it would MAGNIFY the suppression motion especially if it looked like a rubber stamp job, and/or there were other attacks of substance for which haste can provide a magnifying effect.

What if that were the pry bar used to discover, for example, if the judge signed 12 warrants at once? Or that the Judge's secretary prepared it and Judge didn't read it fully, Or, the police prepared it, and the date was the same on 15 other warrants that the judge signed at once.

Try to make sure that the judge who signed it is NOT hearing your suppression motion.

Hire a criminal attorney and have him do the groundwork to explore circumstances that this date error might MAGNIFY.

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This is a defect in the warrant. Court Rule 3:5-5 requires the execution of the warrant within 10 days of issuance and within the times established. There is case law allowing leeway on the execution outside the time. I do not know of a case on this. But the operative "time" is the date of issuance so you may not be able to succeed. Maybe one of my colleagues knows better.

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Hard to say. Sometimes they call it a scrivenor's error, and sometimes the law says the warrant must be served within a time frame from the date it is signed and you can't go beyond the four corners of the document for that information.

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