Understanding Probable Cause

In the United States, police must have probable cause in order to conduct a search and seizure, make an arrest, or receive a warrant. In order to have probable cause, the police must have a reasonable amount of suspicion that a person has committed a crime. Without probable cause, an officer cannot make an arrest or conduct a search without violating a person’s fourth amendment protection against illegal search and seizure.

Examples of Probable Cause

The exact meaning and standard of probable cause has been widely debated. Based on previous cases, an officer can establish probable cause in one of many ways. Some common examples of probable cause include:

  • Using erratic driving as probable cause to pull someone over on suspicion of drunk driving
  • Receiving a tip from a reputable source about a crime that has occurred, is in the process of occurring, or will occur soon to make an arrest
  • An admission or statement from a suspect that gives police reason to believe that a search and seizure will turn up criminal evidence

These and other reasonable suspicions can allow police to conduct a search of a person or property and to make an arrest. However, if you have been arrested or searched and believe that the police did not have probable cause to do so, your fourth amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure may have been violated.

When police fail to establish probable cause, the charges against the arrested individual could be dropped and any evidence seized could be deemed inadmissible in court. If you suspect that your rights have been violated, do not hesitate to consult with a Dallas criminal defense lawyer to discuss your legal options and how we can help you fight your charges.

Contact Us

Contact the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter at 214-845-7007 to learn more about your rights and what our Dallas criminal defense lawyers may be able to do for you.


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