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What does probable cause mean during drug searches?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Even before conviction, a drug charge can jeopardize a defendant’s life. It can cause damage to their relationships, education, career and opportunities. To fully protect their rights, it is essential to ensure that every part of the process follows the legal procedure. This includes checking whether the authorities conducted the drug search legally.

Recognizing the basis of probable cause

As part of citizens’ rights under the Fourth Amendment, police can only perform an arrest, conduct a search or request a warrant if there is probable cause. Otherwise, they would be violating a person’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Understanding probable cause as a nonlegal person

When looking into probable cause, courts usually determine whether the law enforcement officer had reasonable belief that an individual has committed a crime. To do so, they will look into the facts and totality of the circumstances surrounding the case. Since the concept of probable cause is flexible, the courts may have different ways to measure the reasonableness of the search.

What happens if there is no probable cause?

If the court finds that the police had no probable cause to conduct a search, any evidence obtained from the search would no longer be admissible to the case. While this does not necessarily drop the drug charge, the inadmissibility of evidence can greatly affect the case’s result.

Know the process and protect your rights

Many defendants get lost in the court process, especially when dealing with legal concepts. However, there are legal options available to ensure protection over your rights. A knowledgeable and skillful legal team can guide you through your options and help you understand the process.