If you’re like many people, you’ve heard of probable cause – but what is it, and how does it affect your case? This guide explains.
What is Probable Cause?
Probable cause is a legal standard that allows police officers to detain an individual or search their property if the officer has a reasonable belief that they’re involved in criminal activity. This belief must be based on specific facts or circumstances, and not just on a hunch.
When Does a Cop Have Probable Cause to Arrest You?
There are a few different scenarios in which an officer might have probable cause to arrest you. If they witness you committing a crime, if they have evidence that you’ve committed a crime, or if they have reasonable suspicion that you’re about to commit a crime, they can arrest you.
Even if an officer doesn’t have probable cause to arrest you, they may still be able to detain you for a brief period of time if they have a reasonable suspicion that you’re involved in criminal activity. This allows them to conduct a limited search or interrogation to determine whether or not there’s probable cause for an arrest.Preview (opens in a new tab)
Related: Can you refuse a breath test if you’re stopped for DUI?
Can You Defend Yourself in Court By Saying the Police Didn’t Have Probable Cause?
If you’re facing criminal charges, one of the first things your lawyer will do is try to determine if the police had probable cause to arrest you. If they didn’t, your lawyer can file a motion to suppress evidence that was obtained as a result of the illegal arrest. This could potentially get your charges dismissed. However, there’s never any way to predict what will happen in a criminal case; no lawyer can guarantee you specific results.
Probable cause is a complex legal concept, and it can be difficult to determine whether or not the police had probable cause to arrest you without the help of a lawyer. If you’ve been arrested, call us right away to discuss your case.
Related: When you need a Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney?
If you’ve been accused of a crime, we may be able to help you – and don’t worry: It’s completely confidential. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below to schedule your free, private consultation with an experienced and skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney now.