The condition in criminal law that authorities have sufficient grounds to arrest someone, perform a search, or confiscate property linked to an alleged crime is referred to as “probable cause.” The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution imposes this provision.
There must be probable cause for a court to issue a warrant for someone’s arrest or to search or confiscate property. When police are authorized to make arrests, examine, or seize someone without a warrant, they must have probable cause, and prosecution must charge the defendant with a felony as well.
A reasonable person would think that a crime was being perpetrated, had been perpetrated, or was about to be perpetrated if there was probable cause. A search or arrest warrant only requires probable cause. When a police officer observes a crime being committed, it is also sufficient to make an arrest. It doesn’t outlaw all searches and seizures; only the excessive ones. According to the courts, if there is probable cause to justify a search or seizure of a person or an arrest, the search or seizure is reasonable.
How to Establish a Probable Cause?
Officers are required to relate to objective factors that lead them to presume a suspect committed a felony to establish probable cause. “I only had a hunch that the defendant was a burglar,” a police officer cannot demonstrate probable cause.
Judges, not police personnel, have the final say on whether there is probable cause. A cop may be honest in his belief that the circumstances support probable cause. However, if a judge studies the same facts and disagrees, there is no probable cause.
Although in general, probable cause demands more than a mere accusation that a suspect committed a crime, it does not necessitate quite so much evidence required to prove the suspect guilty of a crime. A solid definition of probable causation is elusive since it is an abstract term. Courts must evaluate whether or not there was probable cause for an arrest on a case-by-case basis.
Cause to Seize
When facts and circumstances are known to the police lead a reasonable person to suspect that the object is illicit, stolen, or evidence of a crime, the officer has probable cause to take it.
When a search warrant is in effect, authorities are usually only allowed to search for the objects listed in the request. Any contraband or proof of other crimes they come find, on the other hand, will very certainly be seized.
If evidence is found to have been obtained illegally, it is subject to the “exclusionary rule,” which means it cannot be used against the defendant in court. The judge determines whether evidence should be omitted after hearing arguments from both the prosecution and defense counsel.
One of the most fundamental ideas in criminal law is probable cause. However, establishing whether law enforcement operations were justified by probable cause is frequently dependent on the circumstances of your case. Contact an attorney from Autrey Law Firm to learn more about a probable cause or to discuss your specific situation.