Essay Sample on Sneak and Peak Warrant: Combatting Terrorism & Crime

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1258 Words
Date:  2023-01-10


A sneak and Peak Warrant also known as Delayed notice warrant, is a search warrant that authorizes the law enforcement officers to conduct a search without the subject of search being notified first ACLU. (n.d.). The sneak and peak act is created from section 213 of the PATRIOT Act. This type of warrant was established with a measure to combat terrorism and prevent future attacks. The issue has in many cases helped prevent the crime; however, there are rising cases from reports revealing disturbing trends and a breach of privacy. There are arguments of whether it is sensible that the PATRIOT Act breaches the fourth amendment act that protects Americans from unreasonable search. It is clear by using the Sneak and Peak warrants, and the federal government has a preference for the authoritarian government over individual rights. Advocating for government surveillance powers is a way of helping to curb terrorism but also a method of increasing the unaccountability cases by the federal investigators. There are two vital sides to the issue of sneak and peak which include the upholding of the Patriotic Act as a way of curbing tourism and the rising number of cases of abuse of surveillance powers by the law enforcement agents that render the process unreasonable and a breach of rights.

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According to the report by the USA department of justice, the passing of the USA PATRIOT Act is an essential tool in the USA that is needed to combat crime (U.S. Department of Justice, 2004). The report also denotes that the Act improved the ability of the federal government to share intelligence while at the same time removing the obstacles to the investigation of terrorism cases. Sneak and peek warrant has improved investigations through keeping the process confidential. The delayed notice warrant has helped avoid tipping off the suspects in a criminal investigation process (U.S. Department of Justice, 2004). For example, in the case of drug shipment where a witness tips the law enforcement officer about an upcoming distribution; the investigators may choose to make an ambush to look like theft from other rival drug dealers. This kind of sneak will help to preserve the confidentiality of investigations and at the same time protecting the witness identity which would have been disclosed if a prior warrant would have been given (U.S. Department of Justice, 2004). This case example shows the essentialism of the delayed search warrant in preventing drug crime, identifying the leaders and protect the confidentiality of the investigation. The federal government argues that the choice of a delayed search warrant is sacrificing on privacy right interest to save the country by making a stop to possible future crimes.

The reason for sneak and peek is a breach of the fourth amendment law and has been used for personal interest by officers of the law. The purpose of the searches made by the law enforcement officers have in many instances found to be contrasting (Witmer-Rich, 2014). According to the Columbus Dispatch, the American Civil Liberties Union have argued that the sneak and peak laws are often employed wrongly in daily investigations and that more cases of erosion of individual rights are reported (Theodore 2014). The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable search but ruled out by the court in issuance of a sneak and peak warranty. There is fear that the government watching would pose a greater danger to people who are free than the escaping criminals. Each person in the community regardless of if they are targeted or not grieves the confusion of failing to know whether they have a say in regards to their fourth Amendment right (Witmer-Rich, 2014). These sneak peek warrants, however, have been used in many cases that are not terrorism associated. Opponents of the PATRIOTIC Act denote that the law enforcement officers take advantage of the claim that the section's language is confusing and not clear and therefore use the sneak peek warranty to investigate cases that are not related to terrorism. Additionally, they say that there is no foresight to predict in many cases of how long the life of the witness might be at risk.

Sneak and peak, therefore, mean that Investigators do not have to choose between going after terrorists and protecting the public safety. Section 213 of the US PATRIOT Act established a statutory authority that requires all investigators to request the court for permission of a delay of notice. The search is issued when the officers of the law prove the probable cause that the property to be searched constitutes evidence of the criminal offense. Despite the breaching of the citizen's fourth amendment law, justice Clearance claimed that the flexible requirements of the fourth amendment should not mandate the announcement that ignores interests of the law enforcement interests (Theissen & Phil, 2017). These interest that makes the fourth amendment flexible in the case of sneak and peak include instances where the police officers have a strong reason to reveal that there exists evidence that would be destroyed if a search notice would be given before. Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows a law enforcement agent to demand disclosure and collection of tangibles held by the third party (Theissen & Phil, 2017). However, the reasonable grounds of demand must be provided from the court that shows that the tangibles are taken for investigation of international terrorism. The fourth Amendment law does not condemn sneak and peek warrants because, when this type of permit is given by a court, the process adopts the standards of delayed notification.


In conclusion, there are arguments of whether the sneak and peek warrants are a breach of the fourth amendment law or a great way to reduce terrorism and the possibility of occurrence of future crimes. , and its requirements in cases of misconduct overrule the needs of the fourth amendment law that upholds a third party's privacy. There are arguments that claim that the law enforcement officials have in many cases misused the PATRIOT Act in conducting investigations that are not directly related to crime. However, the sneak and peek warrant is used in cases where there is proven the possibility that there might be evidence and there is the necessity of delayed search. Also, the officers must convince the judge that there is a possibility that the evidence may be tampered with if the suspects are given notice. Sneak and peek is also used to protect the safety of the witness to the crime. Despite the claims that there is no clarity of the PATRIOT Act, there is a need for continued use of delayed search warrant to curb terrorism. However, to avoid the reported cases of law enforcement agents seeking notifications to their advantage, the judges of the courts that issue the warrant are to be kept accountable for any use of the law for personal interest rather than combat of terrorism.


ACLU. (n.d.). How the USA-Patriot Act Expands Law Enforcement "Sneak and Peek" Warrants. Retrieved from

Theissen, M. N., & Phil, M. (2017). The PATRIOT Act-A closer look on Sec. 213 and Sec. 215. GSTF Journal of Law and Social Sciences (JLSS), 1(2).

Theodore Decker. (2014). Police use of 'sneak-peek' warrants scrutinized. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Justice. (2004, September). Retrieved from

Witmer-Rich, J. (2014). The Fatal Flaws of the Sneak and Peek Statute and How to Fix It. Case W. Res. L. Rev., 65, 121. Retrieved from:

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Essay Sample on Sneak and Peak Warrant: Combatting Terrorism & Crime. (2023, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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