Good Faith Exception to the Exclusionary Rule Does Not Apply Where the Search Warrant is 84 Days Old – Penal Code Section 1538.5

By: Wallin & Klarich

A recent California Court of Appeals decision in People v. Hirata held that a search warrant is invalid after the passing of a substantial period of time. In this case, the period of time was 84 days.

The defendant (Hirata) was charged with possessing drugs and being part of a drug conspiracy ring. Investigators had built substantial evidence against Hirata and a number of other co-conspirators. Armed with this information, the authorities put together an affidavit and were able to secure a search warrant for a number of the residences believed to be a part of the conspiracy. The search warrant was signed and put into effect on June 14; however, it was not executed (when the search actually took place) until September 4.

Hirata argued that the information that had provided the basis for the search warrant was “stale” and could not be used to support the search that took place on September 4 because 84 days had passed in the interim. Hirata also argued, among other things, that the search warrant did not show that “anything would still be located at [his] residence. . . on September 4.” The Appellate court agreed with this argument and affirmed an order to suppress the evidence that was seized as a result of the invalid warrant. The Appellate court also ruled that the evidence seized from the old “stale” warrant would not fall within the good faith exception to the warrant requirement (that the police acted in good faith not knowing that the warrant was invalid) because a warrant more than 2 months old is clearly invalid to support a search.

If you or a loved one has a warrant out for your arrest or have been subject to a search of your home or business, it is important that you call an experienced attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our attorneys have the skill expertise to provide you with the best possible defense. The experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience handling warrant complaints in California. We know what to look for and we have the knowledge to get to the heart of the matter. Our attorneys can be reached by phone at 1-888-280-6839 or through our website at

Posted In: Criminal Appeals