All warrants must meet the requirements of the federal and Pennsylvania constitution and meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania statute. If the search warrant meets the requirements of both, the warrant will hold-up in court. If the warrant does not meet the requirements of both the the federal and Pennsylvania constitution and the Pennsylvania statute, any fruits of the warrant will be suppressed as unlawful.
A search warrant is actually a written document where the officer has to attach an affidavit of probable cause containing information about why the search warrant is necessary and what they are seeking to seize at the time of the execution of the warrant. Sometimes we refer to the writing on the actual document as the four corners of the warrant. The actual requirements are that warrant says with specificity what law enforcement actually wants to seize, not a broad generalized statement, like “we are searching for illegal drugs.” The affiant must say they have probable cause for an arrest and articulate in the warrant the basis of their probable cause. Lastly, the evidence the officers want to seize must be related to the crime for which they have asserted their probable cause. To meet the constitutional requirements the officer must write down the exact crime, the exact criminal behavior, the exact items they want to seize.
Rule 201. Purpose of Warrant.
A search warrant may be issued to search for and to seize:
(1) contraband, the fruits of a crime, or things otherwise criminally possessed; or
(2) property that is or has been used as the means of committing a criminal offense; or
(3) property that constitutes evidence of the commission of a criminal offense.
The Pennsylvania statute is not related to the constitutional requirements. The statute lays out for law enforce the specifics of the requirements for the statute only. The statute is only telling the officer what he may search and seize in Pennsylvania, not what is required to be allowed to search and seize the items.
A motion to suppress will be successful if the warrant fails to meet both the constitutional and statutory requirements.