A warrant is a legal document issued by the courts, which allows the police or other authorities to carry out a search, make an arrest, seize property and items or execute a judgement.

When requesting a warrant, investigators have at their disposal more than 175 different issuing statutory powers. With many of them overlapping, the individual involved is often left confused about their rights. Read on to understand the main types of warrants in the UK and what to expect as a result of each one.

Court Warrants

A court warrant can be classified as a warrant issued by the Magistrates’ and other courts. These warrants can be in the form of an arrest warrant, search warrant, a warrant of further detention and a warrant of commitment, which are used to enforce judgements leading to the possible imprisonment of a debtor.

A defective court warrant can contain incorrect information, usually as the result of inaccurate details being provided by the police or being wrongly entered by court staff during the warrant write up.

Police Arrest Warrants

A police arrest warrant in the UK is normally issued by the Magistrates’ Court and is directed to and carried out by the police. It gives the police the ability to arrest and detain an individual, or search and seize property, if necessary.

You will need to take careful notice of the validity of the arrest warrant, should one be issued against you or a family member, to make sure the police do not go beyond the scope or powers of the warrant.

If you suspect that the arrest warrant procedure has been wrongly carried out, you may be able to claim compensation based on the warrant leading to an unlawful arrest.

Search Warrants

As well as being issued by the Magistrates’ Court, a search warrant can also be issued by a higher court judge. A search warrant provides the police or authorised officers to search a location or vehicle. These types of search warrants are only carried out if the reason for the search warrant is related to criminal activity. Also referred to as police search warrants, the police are able to confiscate any evidence found.

To carry out a search warrant, the police have to comply with the rules set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) subsections 15 and 16 and supplemented by code B.

This set of rules govern the search warrant procedure and how the police can obtain a search warrant, as well as how they have to conduct a search under this warrant.

Even if the individual served with a search warrant isn’t at the premises or vehicle, or refuses the police entry, the police are allowed to search the premises or vehicle even if they have to force their entry.

Warrant of Further Detention

Issued by the Magistrates’ Court, a warrant of further detention allows the police to detain a suspect without a charge for longer than 24-36 hours. A further detention warrant gives a police officer with the rank of superintendent or above, to hold a suspect for questioning in order to continue their investigation.

If they consider that they need to preserve or secure evidence, or can get more evidence through questioning after 24 or 36 hours in detention, they can request from the Magistrates’ Court a warrant of further detention. This warrant under PACE lets the police hold the suspect for a further 36 hours before having to make a second warrant of further detention, providing a maximum period of charge of 96 hours from when the detention was first authorised. If the detention involves a suspected terrorist then different rules apply.

How the criminal defence solicitors at Carter Moore can help

If you or a family member need help or information concerning a warrant, our team of expert criminal defence solicitors in Manchester can draw upon years of knowledge and experience to represent you.

Having worked on a number of high profile cases, our criminal defence team can guarantee to provide you with quality representation for your own case. Contact us today at 0800 144 4111 or email us at info@cmsolicitors.co.uk to find out more about our criminal defence services.