An illegal search is one made by police without a search warrant and with unreasonable suspicion. The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. To lawfully search a person or their property, police need probable cause.
Probable cause is a reasonable belief that an individual will commit or has committed a crime, or the search will be deemed unreasonable. For a reasonable belief to exist, there must be factual evidence to support it, not simply a hunch or “gut feeling.”
A police officer can establish probable cause in multiple ways, including:
Since probable cause is the basic standard use to determine if a crime has occurred or is occurring, police need the following elements:
Yes. A judge can sign an order for a search in connection with a crime. A judge will only authorize police to search a person or property after determining if there is enough probable cause to do so.
Law enforcement may have probable cause to make an arrest or search property. However, that does not mean you are guilty of a crime. To understand more about probable cause and how to defend yourself in a criminal case, contact a criminal attorney.
Last Modified: 06-22-2015 04:23 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.