WTF is Probable Cause?
Updated: Nov 25, 2018
The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures and generally requires probable cause to support a warrant, conduct a search, or make an arrest. In Illinois v. Gates, the United States Supreme Court held that probable cause is a “practical, non-technical" standard that calls upon the “factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men act.” Generally, this means that courts take a “totality of circumstances” approach when determining whether there was probable cause for the search or arrest. Additionally, the analysis is based on what the arresting officer believed at the time and if those beliefs were reasonable. Courts usually find probable cause for an arrest when there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed. Courts usually find probable cause for a search when there is a reasonable basis that evidence of a crime is present. This is vague, right? What is reasonable? That’s where Your Defenders as criminal defense attorneys can help.
As your Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys, we know the ways to attack probable cause! This is important because a lack of probable cause may render a search or arrest invalid and the evidence obtained may have to be suppressed or excluded from trial. Without certain evidence, the prosecution cannot meet the elements required to prove a crime has been committed which could result in a dismissal of the charges against you. Call us today to go over the specific facts of your case so we can determine if the officer lacked probable cause when you were searched or arrested.