Criminal Procedure Probable Cause Article Essay
Probable cause must be present when stopping a citizen for a traffic violation. Officers must follow rules just like the people in the community or face consequences. This paper will describe the article titled “Judge Throws out Lance DUI Case” and analyze the requirements for search and arrest warrants and how they relate to probable cause. Journalist Peter Lance was pulled over early in the morning on New Year’s Day when Officer Bruno Peterson said he observed Lance’s car stopped at a green light for three to five seconds. Officer Peterson said he pulled on side of Lance and saw him looking down so he shone his light toward the car.
Lance then looked at the officer then looked back down into his lap before looking up and driving through the green light. Lance was pulled over a block-and-a-half later and when the departments drinking and driving officer showed up and conducted the investigation. After conducting the investigation the arresting officer Beutel, reported that Lance failed his breathalyzer and field sobriety test. The case went before a judge and both sides presented their stories and evidence. After hearing both sides, the judge decided to dismiss the case saying Officer Peterson did not have probable cause to stop Peter Lance to begin with. Meagher, 2011). An officer cannot retrieve a search or arrest warrant based on their belief or suspicion.
An application for a warrant must be supported by a sworn, detailed statement made by a law enforcement officer appearing before a neutral judge or magistrate. Probable cause must exist and the facts must provide a reasonably trustworthy basis that a crime has been committed or about to happen. Probable cause can also come from reliable police informants even though those statements cannot be tested by a magistrate. Along with probable cause, a warrant must also “particularly” describe the person or place being seized.
Warrants must provide enough detail by identifying things like the apartment, hotel, or multiple-unit building. The warrant must also describe the individual involved so they can be distinguished from others in the general population. (“Findlaw”, 2012). In this article probable cause did not exist which caused the judge to dismiss the case and the evidence presented. The stop was considered unreasonable because Peter Lance’s attorney convinced the judge that people sit at green lights by accident all the time and it is not reasonable to pull every car over because of it. Probable cause and reasonableness must exist to have a successful case.