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Photo of attorney William Marcus Wilkerson
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How probable cause affects your case

On Behalf of | May 27, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Police do not have a blank check when it comes to conducting searches of Texas residences. Before they search, they in most cases must go to a Texas magistrate and obtain a warrant. The key requirement for this warrant is that the officer has probable cause backing it to believe that a crime is being or has been committed.

Probable cause is more than just a guess

Probable cause is a term that is often used but not always understood. The officer does not need the same amount of evidence required to convict a defendant in front of a jury. That standard is beyond a reasonable doubt, and the amount needed to establish probable cause is far less. Still, it requires more than just a suspicion or inference. Whether there was probable cause will be looked at later if the defendant alleges that there was a wrongful arrest or illegal seizure.

Law enforcement can have their actions scrutinized

This concept also applies when police search a suspect or make an arrest. They are able to act quickly when they need to make a decision, and a court later look at what the officer knew and did at the time to determine if they had probable cause. A judge will consider the circumstances of the situation, knowing that police officers are often faced with split-second decisions. Nonetheless, law enforcement can expect that their actions will get scrutiny as the defendant has every interest in having evidence or even an arrest tossed.

If you have been arrested, you have every right to focus on what the officers did at the time to argue that your rights have been violated. This is especially true with drug crimes when evidence seized has a heavy bearing on your case. You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to learn more about your legal rights.