Probable Cause: Reasonable Justification for Legal Arrests, Searches and Warrants

Probable Cause: Reasonable Justification for Legal Arrests, Searches and Warrants

What is Probable Cause?

In the United States criminal justice system, probable cause refers to the standard by which a police officer has the right to make an arrest, conduct a personal search or property search, or to obtain an arrest warrant. A police officer or other law enforcement official must have probable cause to arrest someone in a legal fashion.

Probable cause is also used to refer to the standard to which a grand jury believes that a crime has been committed. This term comes from the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states the following:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Private detectives and police officers should clearly understand probable cause to ensure they are always operating within the guidelines of the law. In a court of law, evidence can be dismissed and entire cases can be dismissed based on whether cops had the appropriate authority to conduct a search or obtain a warrant to make an arrest.

More Information

For more legal definitions, visit our Glossary of Legal and Investigation Terms.


Related Articles

Alimony, Child Support and Pre-Nuptial Agreements

What is Alimony? Alimony, maintenance or spousal support is an obligation established by divorce law or family law. The obligation

The Definition of a Felony Crime

What is a felony? In the United States (and previously other common law countries) a felony is defined as a

Paralegals: Legal Assistants to Attorneys and Lawyers

What is a Paralegal? Paralegal is a term used to describe people who assist lawyers in their legal work. The profession

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*


*