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Probable Cause

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This paper discusses the underlying circumstances to obtaining a warrant, and proving probable cause. Certain exceptions are made by law in some situations, such as searching vehicles. All officers of the law, and court officials are legally obligated to follow all rights reserved by the Fourth Amendment, and without doing so they could jeopardize their case. Investigation must take place before an officer can prove probable cause to a judge, and obtain a warrant. Warrants are necessary documents in apprehending suspects, conducting searches, and seizures.

Without warrants, in most cases, evidence will be ruled as inadmissible.

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There are several ways to prove probable cause to obtain warrants. Without sufficient probable cause a warrant can not be issued to officers. PROBABLE CAUSE 3 Probable Cause Leading To Search Warrants In everyday cases there are several factors included that must be met for the justice process to be effectively worked out. Probable cause is “ the minimum standard necessary for an arrest under any circumstances.

” (Schmalleger,2012). Probable cause is facts that lead to a warrant, arrest, or search. This is the first step in receiving a warrant to search a suspects home, or car.

Certain standards are required when coming up with probable cause. There is a certain process by which a warrant is issued, and all officers must obey all suspects of the fourth Amendment rights. In few occasions a search warrant is not necessary, such as an emergency search, a fleeting targets exception, and a suspicion less search. Investigation Process Before government officials can file for a warrant they must go through the investigation process. During this process officials will gather evidence in effort to indentify suspects. A reenactment of sequence of events will take place to get ideas of what happened, and how.

Once all this evidence is gathered, and police have a suspect they will bring him in for interrogation. During interrogation police will use evidence, find out an alibi if there is one, and get an understanding of motive from suspects. At this time police will use their suspicion, motive, and evidence to pin point one single suspect for the crime. When police have a particular suspect in mind, they will want to search him, his house, car, or place of business for any additional evidence. In order for this to proceed, they will need to be issued a warrant. A warrant is a vital piece of the process.

Without this any evidence gathered on a search can be inadmissible in court. An arrest warrant is also needed to make any arrest of a suspect. PROBABLE CAUSE 4 Obtaining A Warrant Schmalleger (2012), defines a warrant as something issued by a judge to provide legal basis for apprehension of a suspect, or search. A warrant is usually issued by a judge, based on probable cause offered at the time of hearing the prosecutions reasoning. This warrant being obtained can be either for; searching a premises, or apprehending a suspect. In certain cases, like murder, usually a search warrant will be sought first.

This is in order to search for a murder weapon, for example. In other cases officials have enough evidence for an arrest, and no search is needed. In this particular case they will bring their evidence in front of a judge and request an arrest warrant for their suspect. In order for a judge to issue this warrant requirements such as Actus Reus, Mens Rea, Concurrence, and motive must be shown. If a judge rules that all requirements are met, he/she will issue the warrant for arrest. While having to do their civil duty, officials must also make sure no suspects rights were violated, with mphases on the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment The Fourth Amendment gives citizens the right against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the right against arrest without probable cause (Schmalleger,p117). The Amendments reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. ” (Schmalleger,2012).

This amendment requires probable cause, and warrants be used in all situations when obtaining evidence and apprehending suspects. Any evidence obtained during an illegal search will be PROBABLE CAUSE 5 inadmissible in court, also called illegally seized evidence, as per the fourth amendment. The article “ Fourth Amendment- Administrative searches and seizures” states that the fourth amendment permits warrantless searches that are reasonable, and searches conducted with a valid warrant (1978,vol. 69). If a valid warrant is not used during a search something called the exclusionary rule will come into play.

A big case about the Fourth Amendment is one of Weeks VS U. S (1914). In this case, Weeks home was searched by Federal Agents, whom had no warrant. Before the trial took place Weeks attorney demanded his personal items be returned, as they were “ illegally seized under Fourth Amendment guarantees” (Schmalleger,p. 119). After a number of appeals, Weeks case came in front of a supreme court where they ruled that all other evidence obtained was also illegally seized, and would not be named as evidence to be used in trial. Weeks conviction was over turned, and he was set free. Probable cause

In order for one to receive a warrant they need probable cause to be proven. As previously stated probable cause is facts or evidence that support a reason or belief that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed. Probable cause is the facts leading to an arrest, search, or warrant. In order for probable cause to met, certain standards must be met. To start off, as per the Supreme Court, the legal standard by which probable cause is met is when the known facts are sufficient to warrant a man of reasonable prudence in the belief that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found.

Officials must show facts and circumstances in order to lawfully make an arrest or a search. A good start to providing probable cause would be an officer offering a detailed observation of what he saw personally as proof. In certain situations, hearsay is a valid piece of evidence to prove probable cause. For example, a CI (Criminal Informant) could tell an PROBABLE CAUSE 6 officer information regarding a crime, and as long as this person is a credible informant, hearsay can be used to prove probable cause.

Stuart says, The prudent person standard simple means that, with the facts and circumstances presented, any reasonably intelligent person would believe that a crime was, was in the process of being, or was going to be committed. (vol. 22,p. 284) Probable cause can also be met with using a witness who can verify claims of an officer about a crime that was committed. A distinction between direct evidence and a hunch must be met in order for an officer to prove probable caused based on personal observation. Officers should avoid using rumors, anonymous tips, and suspicions to support probable cause.

A legal standard most be met of more than one reasonable and reliable condition before suspicion turns into probability. In some cases, it has been ruled justified that an officer search a person, or a car without a warrant. In one case in Stuarts article she states, Belief based on the information furnished by a credible person has been held sufficient to constitute probable cause: Moore v. State, supra. Where the facts and circumstances lead the officer to a reasonable belief that the law is being violated, a search of an automobile, without a warrant, is justified (vol. 2,p. 284). In some cases like such discussed, a car can be searched due to suspicion, and based off a CI’s tip. These two factors are deemed as probable cause in court. “many courts have declared that such knowledge is sufficient to establish probable cause for a search without a warrant:” (Stuart,1931,vol. 22). Warrantless Searches In few occasions, law officers have the right to search a person, area, or car without a warrant. One example of a warrantless search is called a suspicion less search.

A suspicion less PROBABLE CAUSE 7 search is defined as a search with no warrant needed, and no suspicion needed to search a premises based on an overriding concern for public safety (Schamelleger, 2012). In order for a search of this context to be sought, the present officer must have compelling interest. Compelling interest provides the basis for this type of search. It is the basis that public safety is at issue due to a specific person, or reason (Schmalleger,2012). In the case of Florida Supreme Court VS Bostick’s, Bostick appealed his case because he said the search was in contrast to his Fourth Amendment rights.

Schmalleger states, Following this line of reasoning, the Court concluded that warrantless, suspicion less “sweeps” of buses, “trains, planes, and city streets” are permissible as long as officers (1 ) ask individual passengers for permission before searching their possessions, (2) do not coerce passengers to consent to a search, and (3) do not convey the message that citizen compliance with the search request is mandatory. Passenger compliance with police searches must be voluntary for the searches to be legal (p. 137). Several other cases across America have been based on whether or not a suspicion less search was justified.

Most of these cases ruled that these types of searches are permissible under certain circumstances. Another type of a warrantless search is a Fleeting Targets exception. Schamelleger (2012) states, “ Probable cause permits a warrantless search of a vehicle because it is able to quickly leave a jurisdiction. This exception to the exclusionary rule is called the fleeting-targets exception. ” (p. 134). In this circumstance the vehicle can be searched at any area, including sealed containers, the trunk, and glove compartment if officers have the needed probable cause.

Also, this can be done if officers are given permission to search the vehicle. Stuart writes in her 1931 article, In this and in other cases, it has been pointed out that the search of an automobile or other vehicle is an exception to the general rule on search and seizure for the obvious reason that the mobile character of such a vehicle makes an immediate search imperative, PROBABLE CAUSE 8 before the object of search may be moved out of the jurisdiction: Carroll v. United States. (voll22,p. 285). The same case is noted in Schamelleger (p. 134). In Carroll v. U.

S 91 in 1925 a court ruled that a warrantless search of an automobile or any vehicle is valid if it based on a reasonable belief that contraband is present. The last search that does not require a warrant is an Emergency search. This is justified if an occupant is in danger or harmed, and is based on immediate and overriding public safety, escape of a dangerous suspect, or removal and destruction of evidence. Police officers “may enter a home without a warrant when they have an objectively reasonable basis for believing that an occupant is seriously injured or imminently threatened with such injury. (Schmalleger,p. 126). Emergency searches were first recognized in 1967. The U. S Supreme court in the case of Warden V. Hayden. 50 approved the warrantless search of a residence following reports that an armed robber had fled into the building (Schmalleger,p. 126). In another case in Arizona in 1978 the Supreme court ruled that the fourth amendment does not require police officers to “ delay in the course of an investigation if to do so would gravely endanger their lives or the lives of others” (Schmalleger,p. 126). Exceptions of Probable Cause

Allowing warrantless searches is based upon immediate need of apprehension, or public safety. These searches, in my opinion have persuasive reasoning. An emergency search for example, is done so without a warrant if someone is injured, or in harms way. Persuasively enough is the reasoning that an emergency search is to protect the public, or save an injured person. If someone is hurt, there may be no time to obtain a warrant. The same goes for public safety. Some exceptions of probable cause are search incident to an arrest, reasonable suspicion, and the plain view doctrine.

The plain view doctrine is visible objects that be seized during a search. Officers do not need probable cause to seize such objects based on the fact they are in PROBABLE CAUSE 9 plain view when a search is being conducted. A search incident to an arrest is a warrantless search of an arrested individual. In this case the officer needs no probable cause to search the body of the arrested person, based of the fact he has the right to do this to protect himself before bringing the arrested person into custody.

Reasonable suspicion is a pat down search for example. In this case the officer has a general belief a crime is in progress or just occurred. Based on these facts the officer has the right to search a suspicious person, and further investigate whether or not he/she committed a crime, or was just committing a crime in their presence. Conclusion In conclusion, the process by which a warrant is obtained is lengthy, and requires much detail. All persons suspected of a crime still have rights, and are innocent until proven guilty.

Officers must keep this fact in mind. All searches and seizures, by law, need probable cause, unless excluded by certain circumstances. Obtaining a warrant is a crucial part in the investigation of suspects, and their arrest. Without such documentation evidence can be ruled unfit for court, and arrested suspects can be let free due to technicalities. All measures must be accounted for, and all situations must be handled correctly in order for the system to work properly.

Cite this Probable Cause

Probable Cause. (2016, Oct 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/probable-cause/

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