Probable cause is needed to make an arrest, conduct a search, or obtain a warrant. It is the standard by which police officers and prosecutors determine whether there is enough evidence to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person accused of the crime committed it.
In Indiana, probable cause must be based on more than just a hunch. The officer must have specific and articulable facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person accused of the crime committed it. These facts cannot simply be gleaned from an anonymous tip as they must be observable by the officer.
What If I Was Pulled Over Unlawfully?
If you believe that you were stopped without probable cause, your first step should be to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can review the circumstances of your stop and help you determine whether or not your civil rights were violated. If it is determined that your rights were violated, your attorney can take steps to have any evidence obtained as a result of the stop suppressed, which could lead to the charges against you being dismissed.
What are Common Reasons Officers Use Probable Cause for a Stop and Arrest?
Many different factors can contribute to an officer having probable cause. Some of the most common include:
- Observing a crime being committed
- Receiving a report of a crime from a credible witness
- Having first-hand knowledge that a crime has been committed (i.e., victim of the crime)
Additionally, there are certain types of behavior that can give an officer reasonable suspicion to believe that criminal activity is happening, even if a crime has not technically been committed. This can include things like:
- Attempting to flee or evade police officers
- Driving erratically or recklessly
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Acting suspiciously or nervous
If you are arrested based on probable cause, it is important to remember that this does not mean that you are automatically guilty of the crime. You have the right to an attorney and the right to a fair trial. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your rights and ensure that you receive a fair trial.
How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?
If you are arrested and charged with a crime, it is important to have a criminal defense lawyer who can help you understand the charge and what is needed to prove guilt. Probable cause must be based on facts, not just suspicion. If the police don’t have probable cause, then any evidence they find may not be able to be used in court. This can be helpful in criminal cases where the evidence is weak.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you understand what the police need to show probable cause. They can also help you challenge the evidence if it was obtained without probable cause. This can be important in getting your charges reduced or dismissed. If you have been charged with a crime, call (317) 623-4546 to speak with a criminal defense lawyer at our firm to learn more about how we can help you.