You may have heard that police need “probable cause” to arrest
you, but what does this mean? Because probable cause is often subjective,
the answer is not always clear.
probable cause comes from the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which states
that law enforcement must have a legitimate reason grounded in firm evidence
for making an arrest, searching an individual’s property, or seizing
property. What this means is that an officer cannot simply arrest or search
you just because they had a hunch. Law enforcement must distinguish between
merely having a suspicion and having a suspicion merited by factual evidence.
It is logical to wonder exactly how much probable cause is needed before
the police action is justified, but because judgment cannot be objectively
measured, a judge ultimately has the final word on whether probable cause
exists in any given situation.
An officer can make an arrest if there is reason to believe that a crime
has been, is currently, or will soon be committed. However, they do not
require hard evidence for temporary detentions. An officer can legally
pull over a vehicle or temporarily detain an individual for investigation
if they have a
reasonable suspicion that they may be breaking a law.
Officers must obtain search warrants before they are able to search or
seize an individual’s property. In order to obtain a warrant, they
must be able to prove that there is enough evidence to show that the property
in question is either evidence of a crime, stolen, or contraband. If police
proceed with a search and seizure without a warrant, their search is considered
illegal, and any evidence they obtain cannot be used to prosecute the
Why is this important? Because
probable cause can make all the difference for your criminal defense case. If officers
have taken any illegal actions against you, including searching or seizing
property without a warrant or arresting you without sufficient evidence,
you cannot be convicted of a crime.
Remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. Increase your chances
of a successful outcome in your criminal defense case by contacting Stephen
G. Rodriguez & Partners today. We are experienced in a wide variety
of cases including
violent crimes, and more. To
speak with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, please call our offices today
to schedule your free consultation.