What Is Virginia’s Ban on No-Knock Search Warrants?
Virginia’s new law banning no-knock warrants went into effect on March 1, 2021. Under
Virginia Code §19.2-56, law enforcement officials are prohibited from seeking, executing, or participating in executing a no-knock search warrant. To legally execute a search warrant at a place where someone lives, the police must do the following:
- They must be recognizable and identifiable as a law enforcement official.
- They must provide audible notice of their authority and purpose. The audible notice must be reasonably expected to be heard by the occupants of the place to be searched prior to the execution of the search warrant.
- They must provide a copy of the search warrant to the person to be searched or the owner of the place. If the owner of the site being searched is not present, a copy of the warrant must be provided to an occupant. If there is no one present in the structure, the search warrant should be left in a visible place.
Search warrants of homes should be executed between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm unless one of these conditions are met:
- The judge authorizes the execution of the search warrant at another time for good cause.
- The police officer entered and secured the home and remained there continuously.
What Happens if a Search Warrant Is Executed in Violation of This Law?
If a search warrant is executed in a manner that violates Virginia’s ban on no-knock search warrants, the evidence obtained cannot be used against you in court. You may be able to file a motion to suppress this evidence. If the suppressed evidence is vital to the prosecutor’s case, the charges against you may be dismissed or reduced to a much less serious offense through a plea bargain.
Did the police execute a search warrant at your home without first knocking? Have you been charged with a crime in Virginia? Our experienced criminal defense lawyers may be able to raise all your defenses to fight the charges you face so that you achieve the best possible outcome in your criminal case. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Manassas office at 888-DUI-LWYR, or fill out our online form today to schedule your free initial consultation today.