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What Is Probable Cause In Criminal Law?

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If the police decide to arrest you, they can only do so under certain conditions. If the court issued a warrant, for example, the police might arrest you. They may also arrest you if they have probable cause. What is probable cause, and how does this affect your criminal case? Here are a few things to know about how criminal lawyers use probable cause to help defendants with their cases:

The Definition of Probable Cause

In criminal law, probable cause is an essential element of an arrest and a case. You can define probable cause as proof that a person committed a crime. It is not a hunch or opinion. It is evidence that gives the police a clear and valid reason to believe a person committed a crime.

The police cannot perform an arrest without the element of probable cause. This right is defined in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and it is there to protect people. Criminal lawyers understand this amendment and often use it when building criminal defense strategies.

Recourse If They Arrested You Without It

There are times when police are correct in their assumptions that people committed crimes. There are also times when the police get it wrong. There are times when the police arrest people without having probable cause. If this is what happened in your situation, your lawyer will use this factor as a way of defending you in your case. The goal is proving that the police arrested you without the proper reason for doing so. If you can prove this, the court will have no other option but to drop the charges against you. If this happens, you win the case.

The Challenges with Probable Cause

Using a lack of probable cause can help you in your case. However, it is vital to understand that proving this factor is not easy. Proving a lack of probable cause is a challenging event to accomplish. It will be your word versus the police officer's word. Criminal lawyers understand the challenges with this, and they often turn to other defense strategies instead. Different approaches may be less challenging than this one.

If you believe that the police arrested you without a legal and proper basis for probable cause, consult with a criminal defense attorney. The attorney will review all the available evidence and work on helping you fight the charges you are facing.