Home > Criminal Law > Warrants > Search Warrants

Serving and Executing Search Warrants


  • A search must be executed or served within five days from the time it is issued.

  • Upon expiration of the five-day period, the warrant is void unless the time is extended by a judge, justice of the peace or magistrate.

  • After initiating a search, the warrant must be returned to a judicial officer within three court business days.


  • The police officer may break into a building, premises, or vehicle or any part of a building, premises, or vehicle, to execute the search if:

  • after notice of the police’s authority and purpose, the police officer receives no response within a reasonable time,

  • the police officer is refused admittance,

  • a magistrate has authorized an unannounced entry pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-3915, or

  • the circumstances and facts are such that a reasonable police officer would believe that giving notice of the police’s authority and purpose before entering would endanger the safety of any person or result in the destruction of evidence.

  • The police officer may seize property discovered if the police officer has reasonable cause to believe that the item is subject to seizure, even if the property is not included in the warrant. The police officer may also take photographs, measurements, impressions, or scientific tests.

  • During the execution of the search warrant, the police officer may direct a search of any building, premises, or vehicle, and may search any person in the building, premises, or vehicle if it is reasonably necessary to protect the police officer or others from the use of any weapon that may be concealed upon the person, or it reasonably appears that property or items listed in the search warrant may be concealed upon the person.

  • The officer may direct the persons present to move so they do not interfere with the search, or as necessary for the safety of police officers or persons present.

The information offered on this site is made available as a public service and is not intended to take the place of legal advice and cover all topic areas. If you do not understand something or are not sure these videos, info sheets, FAQs, forms or instructions apply to your situation, see an attorney for help.

The Supreme Court assumes no responsibility and accepts no liability for actions taken by users of these legal resources, including reliance on their contents.