Search warrants for inspections or reinspection of buildings, structures, property, or premises subject to inspections pursuant to the Code, to determine compliance with regulations or standards set forth in the Code, shall be based upon a demonstration of probable cause and supported by affidavit. Such inspection warrants may be issued by any judge or magistrate having authority to issue criminal warrants whose territorial jurisdiction encompasses the building, structure, property or premises to be inspected or entered, if he is satisfied from the affidavit that there is probable cause for the issuance of an inspection warrant. No inspection warrant shall be issued pursuant to this chapter except upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, particularly describing the place, thing or property to be inspected, examined or tested and the purpose for which the inspection, examination, testing or collection of samples for testing is to be made. Probable cause shall be deemed to exist if such inspection, examination, testing or collection of samples for testing are necessary to ensure compliance with the Fire Prevention Code for the protection of life and property from the hazards of fire or explosion. The supporting affidavit shall contain either a statement that consent to inspect, examine, test or collect samples for testing has been sought and refused or facts or circumstances reasonably justifying the failure to seek such consent in order to enforce effectively the fire safety laws, regulations or standards of the Commonwealth which authorize such inspection, examination, testing or collection of samples for testing. In the case of an inspection warrant based upon legislative or administrative standards for selecting buildings, structures, property or premises for inspections, the affidavit shall contain factual allegations sufficient to justify an independent determination by the judge or magistrate that the inspection program is based on reasonable standards and that the standards are being applied to a particular place in a neutral and fair manner. The issuing judge or magistrate may examine the affiant under oath or affirmation to verify the accuracy of any matter in the affidavit. After issuing the warrant, the judge or magistrate shall file the affidavit in the manner prescribed by § 19.2-54.
1988, c. 549; 2014, c. 354.