The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers or other government officials. Unless they need to intervene in a crime in progress, police officers need warrants to arrest someone or search their property.
Typically, officers with a warrant will knock and announce themselves before trying to force entry into a space to search or arrest someone. No-knock warrants are exactly what you might think they are. They are pieces of paper signed by a judge that grants police officers the right to enter a private domicile or business without knocking and announcing themselves in advance.
Are no-knock warrants legal in Texas?
Lawmakers introduced changes but have failed to pass them
Texas tends to have a focus on personal liberty when interpreting federal statutes and the Constitution. For example, although the federal Supreme Court has ruled that sobriety checkpoints are constitutional, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled the exact opposite.
When it comes to no-knock warrants, however, the state does not deviate from standard practices. Criminal judges in Texas can approve no-knock warrants for police officers when they agree that the circumstances justify the request. Although lawmakers recently tried to limit the use of no-knock warrants, they have yet to pass any bills reforming the existing practices in the state.
The apprehension of someone with cartel ties or a history of criminal convictions could be a reason to approve a no-knock warrant in the mind of many judges. You may not be able to challenge the validity of a no-knock warrant, but there may be other warrant-related technicalities that affect your case. There could still be mistakes with the paperwork or with how the police officers executed the warrant that could affect your criminal defense options.
Learning more about the unique laws in Texas can help you plan your criminal defense strategy when you face charges.