Home  >  Articles  >  What Is Probable Cause

What is Probable Cause?

In order for a police officer to make an arrest or obtain a warrant to search someone’s home or make an arrest, he or she must first have probable cause. Many people believe probable cause can be based on suspicion or a “hunch,” but it actually has to be based on much more than that. In order to have probable cause to make an arrest and prosecute someone in criminal court, the officer must have some level of evidence.

If you or someone you know has been arrested and is facing criminal charges, you need a qualified legal representative on your side to protect your rights and interests. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help argue your case and even address whether the officer had probable cause before searching your property or making an arrest. Get the legal assistance you need today by calling the Appleton criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. today at (414) 271-9595.

Categories of Probable Cause

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution grants every citizen the right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures by establishing the need for probable cause. The following are four categories of probable cause:

  • Circumstantial Evidence – Evidence that does not prove the crime occurred, but rather indirectly suggests a crime occurred.
  • Observation – Includes any information the officer sees, smells, hears, or obtains with any of his or her other senses. Can also include witnessing suspicious behavior.
  • Obtaining information – This can include statements or any other information from witnesses.
  • Expertise – This is a fairly open category and includes any skills the police officer has developed from training or experience.

If an officer makes an arrest or obtains evidence without a warrant and probable cause, the evidence cannot be used in court.

Contact Us

For more information about your case and whether the officer had probable cause, contact the Appleton criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. today at (414) 271-9595.