Many clients in Criminal Defense cases may question whether or not the police had a probable cause to search them or their belongings during a stop. During police encounters, it is crucial to be aware of what you are being stopped for, and most importantly what it means to determine probable cause. DWI lawyer Probable cause is defined as a reasonable belief (based on factual information) that a person has or will commit a crime. Some categories of evidence that can lead to probable cause include: observation, circumstantial evidence, expertise, information, sensory, or consent. When accused of a crime and charged with evidence following a search, it is important to know which category police officers used to create probable cause. Some of the most common categories stated are expertise, sensory, and consent. Expertise is defined as the ability to identify certain behaviors or tools through training, which indicates that criminal activity is afoot. Sensory helps officers detect crime through hearing, smell, and sight. For example, the smell of alcohol or marijuana lingering from a vehicle can promote the intent to search. Consent to search is also common, as many people are scared to deny police officers this opportunity. Consent is made when the defendant agrees to be searched.
Prior to a search in Criminal Defense cases, probable cause must be present. Search warrants and arrest warrants may then be created after probable cause has been proved. Bench warrant However, warrantless searches such as vehicle searches during traffic stops must have met the standards for probable cause. If these requirements have not been met during an encounter you had with an officer, this evidence may be considered inadmissible. If you have been searched and charged with evidence that you may be concerned about please contact a lawyer at the Law Office of Kelly and Conte.