How do the police obtain a search warrant?

The police obtain search warrants by convincing a judge that they have “probable cause” to believe criminal activity is occurring at the place they want to search or that evidence of a crime may be found at the location. Normally, the police provide the judge with the information they want to rely on in the form of written statements under oath that are referred to as “affidavits.” These affidavits may include the police officer’s own observations, those of a private citizen or those of a confidential informant. If the judge believes the information presented is trust worthy and demonstrates “probable cause” the judge will issue a warrant.