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What is Considered Probable Cause for a Warrant?

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution provides U.S. citizens the right to be secure and safe from unreasonable searches and seizures. Under this law, any warrant issued by a judge may only be granted with probable cause. The 4th amendment serves to protect individuals’ rights and privacy. Your constitutional rights can never be violated even when a criminal case is being brought against you. If your Fourth Amendment rights were violated do not hesitate to contact a Red Bluff criminal lawyer for representation.

What is a Warrant?

In television shows and movies, you often see law enforcement officers knocking aggressively on someone’s door, yelling that they have a warrant and to open up. But what exactly is a warrant?

A warrant is a document issued by a judge or government official that authorizes the police to search a person or their property or make an arrest. Because of the 4th amendment, searching and seizing property from a person’s person, car, or home is illegal. A valid warrant grants law enforcement permission to perform an otherwise unlawful act.

What Types of Warrants Exist?

There are many types of warrants that serve specific purposes. However, a judge will generally issue one of three types: a search warrant, bench warrant, or arrest warrant.

  • A search warrant is issued to give the police or law enforcement the legal allowance to search a location or person for evidence of a crime. Search warrants can allow searches of a person or their property including their home, apartment, car, etc. Search warrants are issued based on probable cause that the evidence is present.
  • A bench warrant can be issued to allow the police to arrest someone who failed to appear in court or who acted in disregard of a court order.
  • An arrest warrant is issued to give police permission to arrest a person who is suspected of committing a crime. It is based on probable cause to believe that the person is guilty of committing the crime or contributing to the crime.

What is Probable Cause?

It has been established that warrants cannot be issued without probable cause, but it raises the question – what is considered probable cause?

Probable cause is any evidence that would reasonably convince a person to believe that criminal activity has occurred and that the person or place in question may be a part of it. Because you are not yet being convicted the evidence does not need to be conclusive or irrefutable, only reasonable enough to suspect you. Even if you are searched or detained based on probable cause, an attorney can help. A skilled lawyer may be able to prove that the existing evidence is not substantial enough to warrant a conviction. If you believe your right to avoid illegal search and seizure was violated contact a skilled defense attorney.