Probable Cause

Probable Cause


The “probable cause” generally refers to the requirement in criminal law that says the police must have sufficient reason to arrest someone, conduct a search or seize property relating to an alleged crime.

The requirement of probable cause is derived from the fourth amendment of the Constitution of the united States, which states the following:

“The right of the people to the safety of your person, home, papers, and effects against searches and seizures unreasonable, shall not be violated, and will not issue orders unless there is a probable cause by, confirmed by an oath or ratification, specifically describing the place to register and the persons or things to register”.

As can be seen in these words, in order for a court to issue a warrant (of arrest or of a search or seizure of property), there must be a “probable cause”.

The police must also have probable cause to arrest without a warrant, and in many cases to register or to seize goods without a warrant.

Prosecutors must also have probable cause to accuse of a crime to a defendant.

Warrants and probable cause

Generally, to obtain a warrant , an officer must sign an affidavit stating the facts supporting the probable cause to arrest someone, conduct a search or seize property. The judges issued orders if they agree on the existence of probable cause.

There are many instances in which no orders are necessary to arrest or to register, such as in the case of arrests for serious crimes witnessed in public by an officer. Here is more information on when they are not necessary orders.

If there is an arrest without a warrant, he must still prove probable cause after the fact, and will be necessary in order to prosecute a defendant.

Probable cause for the arrest

The probable cause for the arrest exists when the facts and circumstances of the knowledge of the police officer would lead a reasonable person to believe that the suspect has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. The probable cause must come from facts and circumstances specific, and not simply a hunch or suspicion of the officer.

The “stops” that do not lead to an arrest does not require probable cause. These arrests require only a “reasonable suspicion”. This includes stopping cars or pedestrians and to detain occupants while the officers have a search warrant. A “reasonable suspicion” means specific facts that would lead a reasonable person to think that there has been a criminal activity and that more research is needed.

The detention may become an arrest, but it is not always clear at what point that happens. Generally, the police indicates that it is arresting a person, he placed the wives or take any other action that crosses the line of the arrest. These police actions may trigger the constitutional requirement of probable cause.

A person arrested or charged without probable cause may seek legal redress sought by a civil suit for false arrest or malicious prosecution.

Probable cause to register

The cause is likely to register exists when the facts and circumstances known to the officer would lead a person to believe that a crime has been committed at the place to register, or that there is evidence of a crime in that place.

Search warrants must specify the place to register, in addition to the items to seize.

There are many cases in which you do not need a search warrant. The common situations in which the police are allowed to register without an order include:

  • when you have the consent of the person in charge of the property (if well who is the person you can be a legal issue complex);
  • when you make certain records associated with an arrest lawful; and
  • in emergency situations that threaten public safety or loss of evidence.

The police also need a warrant to search or seize a contraband “simple view” when the officer has the right to be present.

The questions usually arise around the limit to which the police can search vehicles. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about the registration of vehicles.

Probable cause to seize property

The probable cause to seize property exists when facts and circumstances knowledge of the officer would lead a reasonable person to believe that the item is contraband, stolen, or constitutes evidence of a crime.

When there is a warrant, the police generally must register only for the items described in the order. However, any contraband or evidence of other crimes that they can find must also seize most of them.

In the case of demonstrate that the evidence comes from an illegal search is subject to the “exclusionary rule” and cannot be used against the accused in the court. After listening to the arguments of the prosecution and of the defense attorneys, the judge decides whether it should exclude the evidence.


Probable cause refers to the amount and quality of information required to arrest someone, search or seize private property in many cases or to accuse someone of a crime. The probable cause to arrest, search or seize property exists when facts and circumstances knowledge of the officer would lead a reasonable person to believe:

  • that the person to be arrested has committed a crime;
  • the place to register was the scene of a crime;
  • the place record contains evidence of a crime; or
  • which assets to seize are part of a contraband, stolen, or constitutes evidence of a crime.
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