Between what hours may warrant be served in California?

California Warrants being servedCalifornia Penal Code provides that a search warrant may be served between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.—unless the judge who signed the warrant included in the warrant directions that the warrant may be served at any time of day or night. Service of a warrant after 10 p.m. is considered a more serious invasion of security than service of a warrant between the statutory allowed hours.

In order to insert a provision for nighttime service of a search warrant, the judge must have “good cause,” which is defined as having “some” factual basis for believing that a nighttime intrusion would be justified by exigent circumstances, such as greater safety of the police officers serving the warrant or the public.

In other words, law enforcement must present to the judge specific facts from which it reasonably may be concluded that the contraband to be seized will not be in the place to be searched during the hours of 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Night service might be justified if the objects being pursued are transitory, movable, easily hidden or consumed.

Multiple outstanding arrest warrants is considered exigent circumstances and service of a search warrant for the purpose of arresting a person with multiple outstanding warrants will be authorized whenever possible.

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