Police officers will often flaunt their power or use intimidation to coerce someone they are arresting. This might force someone to confess something that they did not do or respond to a line of questioning without having an attorney. It is easy to feel powerless when an officer confronts them; however, they cannot stop you unless they have grounds to arrest you.
The Laws of Probable Cause
An officer must have “probable cause” to arrest someone. They cannot do it based off of a “hunch” or personal bias (for example, they don’t like that person’s attitude). Every person has the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizures, which means that in order to examine your personal belongings, an officer would need a warrant. For that, an officer would need to provide proof that criminal activity has occurred.
Probable cause can be established in the following ways:
- Factual evidence: e.g., they spot a bag of drugs sitting in plain view in one’s vehicle
- The officer observes illegal activity taking place, based upon familiar signs of criminal actions
- Police receive tips from witnesses or victims of a crime
- The crime was discovered in a particular area or group of people notorious for criminal activity.
- Circumstantial evidence is found to indicate a crime has occurred, such as recovering a deadly weapon or spent ammunition.
Keep in mind that a police officer is not the final word on whether or not the case should go forth in the criminal process. Ultimately, a judge has the final ruling to determine whether or not probable cause was established. Often, judges throw out cases because of this.
If you have any questions about the criminal process or your legal rights, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Daniel J. Miller. As one of the most trustworthy criminal defense attorneys in Virginia Beach, we are known for providing exceptional legal counsel. We foster a solid relationship with our clients to make sure we understand the situation and the objectives at hand.
Be sure to contact our Virginia Beach criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are facing criminal charges. Call (757) 517-2942 today! Free consultation.