Probable cause is the logical belief that a person will commit or has committed a crime. A police officer following the legal standard gives them the right to search through your personal belongings or property, or obtain a warrant for arrest. This legal standard requests that probable cause is determined by factual evidence and not suspicion. There is not a specific amount of information needed to enable an officer to search your belongings or property.
According to the 4th amendment of the US Constitution, “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.” Probable cause can be established if the officer can see or smell evidence of a crime in plain sight.
Officers can perform a search without consent as long as there is substantial evidence to provoke a search. If there is no probable cause or evidence, the defendant can consent to have their property or personal belongings searched. Consenting to a search makes the search legal in the eyes of the law. You have the right to refuse a search if the officer has does not have evidence. If you refuse to have your property or personal belongings searched and an officer proceeds in any way, you can have your lawyer file a motion to throw out the evidence.
If you were wrongly or unfairly searched or arrested without probable cause, contact The Cochran Firm to speak to one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers today. Call 1-800-THE-FIRM