Prison Cell BarsLet’s say that you are walking about, minding your own business, when you are approached by a police officer. They start questioning you because they believe that you know something that happened during a crime due to the fact that you’re supposedly friends with the perpetrator. Instantly, you’re on guard because the first thing you think is, “I can’t walk away or else I’ll be arrested.” However – you, like many other Americans, do not realize that you are free to walk away from an officer unless you have formally been detained. You may have questions if you were detained during an arrest, such as whether or not the arrest is “legal” based on the circumstances. Today we will help you understand these details.

How Probable Cause Works

An arrest can continue as long as “probable cause” is met, according to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Probable cause is sometimes difficult for an officer to meet, because it is established through factual evidence and not suspicion. It can be based on many things, however, such as the witness testimony of people who were there when the crime took place. Police may also recognize a crime in action and choose to arrest somebody for it, which is enough probable cause in many cases. But how is it decided?

Sometimes, probable cause is not established until you go in front of the judge. By then, the arrest would have already been made. If the judge determines that there was no probable cause even though the arrest was made in good faith, evidence will become admissible and your case would essentially be thrown out. Probable cause is the best way for law enforcement to be shielded from lawsuits, because it is in their best belief.

Because every case is different, you should talk to a defense attorney about your case and what options you have. It is important to understand the ins and outs of probable cause, as it could help you if you have been arrested and have a criminal case. Call us today at The Law Office of Peter Blair for more.