I'm writing a legal thriller.

I realize that since I have limited legal experience (and by "limited" I mean "no"), I am going to make mistakes. I am committed to writing this book, however, and I hope to use this forum as a resource to answer questions I'm unable to resolve elsewhere.

Is that appropriate?

Here's an example of a question I have (jurisdiction: California):

If someone asks to have his attorney present during the execution of a search warrant, are the police likely to delay until the attorney gets there?

Thank you!



3 Answers 3


This could be an appropriate question, although a better version would not ask about the likelihood of police actions. In this case, the police are almost guaranteed to not wait, because when they have a search warrant, they don't need any further permission. It is not legally required that the police ignore such a request, but the odds that they would do so are so low that we'd say "No". The question should be of the form "what does the law require / prohibit?"; we can't really answer questions of the form "how often do police violate the law?".


This is a good place to ask those kinds of questions.


To answer your question, Miranda rules trigger when someone is arrested or otherwise detained by police. So long as the target of the warrant is free to leave the property of his own free will, his lawyer need not be present and police need not wait for the lawyer to be present until such a time. If you are unsure if you are being detained, ask an officer "Am I free to go?". If yes, they do not need read you your rights. If no, and they haven't, call a lawyer. Do not say anything else to the police. Still, if you are served with a search warrant and have the means to afford a good attorney, get on your phone and call. A judge will only issue a search warrant if they think it's probable that they could find more evidence of a crime. That means there could be some there there.

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