What is Probable Cause in Virginia?

It is essential to understand that police officers must exercise probable cause in order to justify an arrest or issue a warrant for an arrest. To learn more, read on and give out firm a call today. Our skilled Richmond criminal defense attorney is prepared to fight for you and your future. We are just one call away.

What is probable cause and how is it established?

It is important to recognize that probable cause is the key issue in the arrest process. This is because, in Virginia, police need this to make an arrest or obtain an arrest warrant from a judge.

In order to establish probable cause, police officers must be able to indicate factual circumstances guiding them to believe that a suspect committed a crime. A police officer cannot establish probable cause by simply stating that he or she just had a hunch that the defendant was a burglar, as there is not enough basis behind that statement.

Recognize that judges, not police officers, have the last word on whether probable cause exists. A police officer may be honest in acknowledging that the facts establish probable cause. However, if a judge looks at that same information and disagrees, then probable cause does not exist, or never did exist if the question is being decided after an arrest.

Keep in mind that probable cause may have existed at the time of an arrest even if the defendant did not really do anything wrong. In other words, an arrest is valid as long as it is based on probable cause, even if the arrested person is innocent.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, give our firm a call today to discuss the details of your case and your options.

How much information is needed to convince a court or judge of probable cause?

The question everyone wants the answer to is how much information do police officers need to convince a judge to issue an arrest warrant or to justify a warrantless arrest? Most of the time, probable cause requires more than a mere suspicion that a suspect committed a crime, but not as much information as would be required to prove the suspect guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Because probable cause is an abstract concept, a firm definition of it is elusive. Courts have to decide case by case whether there is or was probable cause for an arrest. To learn more, reach out to our firm today. Our skilled criminal defense attorneys are on your side no matter what you are facing.

Contact Our Firm

Led by Attorney James A. Bullard Jr., we handle various criminal and traffic cases, including reckless driving tickets, DUIs, violent crimes, drug crimes, and so much more. Contact James A. Bullard Jr. P.C. today to get started on your defense.

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