Knowledge — 2 years ago

Probable Cause Definition – What Is a Probable Cause?

by Alvin V.

Probable Cause Definition, Probable Cause

What Is a Probable Cause?

When you watch shows involving the police or articles regarding them, you come across the term probable cause. You start to wonder what is the definition of probable cause, and why is it essential for authorities to carry out their activities? Let’s dive in to understand the probable cause definition law and how it comes into play.

The Definition of a Probable Cause

Every police officer in the country needs probable cause. It is necessary if they need the judge to issue an arrest warrant or arrest a party. The probable cause comes under the Fourth Amendment requirements, which the police needs to meet, before going ahead with their actions.

The probable cause comes into play when the court finds that there is adequate reason to believe that a party committed a crime. Another situation where the legal body accepts probable cause is when crime is present in the area the police wants to search.

In certain cases, the officers can make a warrantless seizure or search. However, the police will have to bring the arrested individuals before an authority, who will determine probable cause definition.

Probable Cause Definition
How to Establish Probable Cause?

As per the definition of probable cause, the police officers must show that the suspect committed the crime. They should use objective circumstances, to bring the same to the attention of the court.

However, if the officer doesn’t have an adequate reason, it doesn’t define the probable cause. When it comes to which authority has the last say in the probable cause definition law, it falls on the hands of the judges.

It is possible for the police officer to provide substantial proof that the suspect committed the crime. However, if the judge goes through the same information and disagrees, he/she can state that the probable cause definition doesn’t exist.

The question on the mind is how to define probable cause in terms of information. Officers cannot use only suspicion as the primary reason for making an arrest. At the same time, they don’t have to provide evidence, like they do when it comes to proving the accused is guilty of committing the crime.

The truth is that under the Fourth Amendment, you won’t find the definition of probable cause.

When the legal body has to define the probable cause, it makes arrests valid, even if the accused party is innocent.

Probable Cause
Probable Cause Examples

To understand the probable cause definition, take a look at the examples given below:

Officer A visits an electronics store, after getting reports of an individual robbing the place. After arriving at the scene, he meets the owner, who identifies himself. He gives a brief description of the crime, along with details about the offender.

According to the owner, the criminal is wearing a black shirt, with four rings on his fingers. The offender was carrying a shotgun while committing the crime.

10 minutes later, Officer A stops a vehicle, for rash driving. Upon approaching the car, he notices the individual wearing a black shirt, along with four rings on his fingers. As it matches the description given by the owner of the establishment, he arrests this individual which comes under probable cause definition law. In this situation, the officer has probable cause for this person committing the crime, even though he didn’t witness the robbery.

In a similar case to define the probable cause, the owner is the criminal and makes the same statement. 5 minutes later, the officer sees a car breaking the law. After stopping the driver, he realizes this individual matches the description. He has the right to make the arrest under probable cause definition.

Even if this person proves that the electronics are his, the officer wasn’t wrong in making the decision, due to the probable cause definition law.


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