Covert-Entry Search Warrant Law and Legal Definition

A covert-entry search warrant authorizes a law-enforcement officer to clandestinely enter private premises during the absence of the owner or occupant without prior notice. Such law-enforcement officer can search the premises and collect intangible evidence. They can collect photographs and eyewitness information. This is also termed as sneak-and-peek search warrant or surreptitious-entry search warrant. Covert-entry search warrants were previously used in federal criminal investigations and were first given express statutory authority by the USA Patriot Act. Accordingly, information gathered while executing a sneak-and-peek warrant could be later used to support a search warrant under which physical evidence can be seized.