Law Office of William B. Bennett, P.A., St. Petersburg, FL, Probable Cause

Probable Cause In St. Petersburg, Florida

When an officer of the law conducts an arrest, they use probable cause to justify that arrest. However, what does that mean exactly? The 4th Amendment of the United States guarantees citizens protection of their property, information and themselves against illegal searches and seizure. Probable cause is the means that a police agency uses to conduct a search of someone and their property legally.

How A Search Warrant Gets Issued

Before a search warrant is issued, probable cause must be demonstrated to the courts as reason enough to issue the warrant. How this occurs is the police officer requesting the warrant must complete an affidavit that details the facts surrounding a case based on personal observation, evidence gathered and reports by witnesses. After reviewing the affidavit, the court may decide to issue an arrest or search warrant. Therefore, the courts have to rely on the truthfulness of the officer’s report in these cases.

There are some instances where a police officer can make warrantless searches. For example, when they see a crime take place directly or even around certain crimes, such as domestic abuse, a warrantless arrest may be made. In many of these cases, a video of the altercation is sufficient to make an arrest. However, many warrantless arrests can be subject to dispute and used against the prosecution by an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Probable Cause And Tainted Evidence

There is a term in law enforcement known as “the fruit of the poisonous tree”. This is a term that refers to evidence being used against a defendant that was obtained illegally. For example, if an officer stopped a defendant without probable cause and also discovered evidence of criminal activity during a search of the vehicle, that evidence can be argued as tainted and be thrown out. The idea is to protect the rights of defendants by preventing the use of illegally obtained evidence.

If You Have Been Arrested And Question The Illegal Use Of Probable Cause, Contact An Experienced Criminal Law Attorney Immediately

Warrantless arrests happen all the time in St. Petersburg. Not all of them may be considered legal in the eyes of the courts. If you believe you have been arrested unjustly, you may have options to argue your defense in order to get your charges reduced or even dropped altogether. Call the Law Office of William B. Bennett for a free consultation to discuss your case. We can be reached at (727) 821-8000 or contact us on our website here.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense Law