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What is Probable Cause? | Jake Brower, Attorney At Law |Criminal Lawyer | Criminal Defense |DUI Defense Attorney |Felony Arrests |3-Strike Cases |Santa Ana, Orange County, CA

Criminal Law

  • What is Probable Cause?

    Posted Apr 26th, 2013 By in Criminal Law, Interrogation Process, Uncategorized With | Comments Off on What is Probable Cause?

    We’ve heard about it all the time: the police search a house or a car because they had probable cause. But what exactly is probable cause, and what does that allow police officers to do?

    If a police officer encounters facts or evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been committed, then that officer has the right to make an arrest, conduct a search of person or property, or obtain a warrant for an arrest. “Probable” may relate to statistical probability or to a general standard of common customs and behavior. Hearsay can also provide probable cause if the witness is a reliable source or provides reliable evidence.

    Be aware that the officer only needs probable cause to search your vehicle, but does require a warrant to search your house.

    Circumstances that could result in probable cause include but are not limited to:

    • the sight or smell of contraband in plain view
    • the sight of abnormal behavior (such as weaving while driving)
    • an admission of guilt for a specific crime

    However, minor traffic violations—such as speeding, a broken tail light, expired registration—are not considered means for probable cause.

    There is a way to get out of probable cause, though, especially concerning your vehicle. Police officers require consent in order to search a vehicle, no matter what. Even if they have probable cause, they will also ask to “see what’s in the back” or use any other method to get the driver to agree to a search. If you do not want the officer to search your car, simply state (and repeat as necessary): “Officer, I don’t consent to any searches.”

    Here’s the kicker. If the you refuse consent and the officer still searches you and finds illegal items, a lawyer can file for a “motion to suppress” (which means to “throw out”) the evidence in court.

    For more information, follow this link and this link.

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Jake Brower Criminal Defense Attorney, DUI Lawyer, Felony Arrests, 3-Strike Cases, Criminal Law, Drunk Driving Lawyer, Los Angeles, Orange, Anaheim, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, Rancho Santa Margarita,Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, Beverly Hills, Hollywood,Oceanside, San Clemente, Carlsbad, Dana Point, Seal Beach, Long Beach, 1043 Civic Center Drive West, #200, Santa Ana CA 92703