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Understanding probable cause and valid police searches

On Behalf of | May 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense Process

One of the most misunderstood areas of the law has to deal with searches and having probable cause. Many Florida residents don’t understand what their legal rights are regarding these issues. You’ll want to learn what probable cause is and when it’s necessary for police searches.

Defining probable cause

One defense that may be introduced while fighting charges is a lack of probable cause. Probable cause is a legal requirement that must be met before a police officer is able to seize your property, get a warrant, conduct a search or arrest you. All of these rights fall underneath the broad category of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment states that each person has the right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion. This intrusion can’t take place in a person’s home, in their place of business or even on their person.

Probable cause and search warrants

Probable cause is more than just a suspicion that someone is involved in illegal activity. The police must have some sort of evidence linking you to a suspected crime before they can proceed with any sort of search warrant. It’s important to note that when a police officer does get a search warrant, it’s for specific items, and the police are only authorized to search for those specific items. However, if they do find contraband or other evidence of a crime during their search for the items specified in the warrant, they may seize them.

You have the right to be free from the unreasonable intrusion of your personal property. However, when a police officer has probable cause, they may be given the right to search you or your possessions. If you believe that you or your property has been searched illegally, it’s advisable to contact an attorney to help with your case.