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Determining probable cause in a criminal case

Determining probable cause in a criminal case

| Mar 31, 2020 | Firm News

Someone who is being questioned by a police officer in Tennessee or any other state might have the right to walk away from that officer. This is generally true until the officer formally detains or takes an individual into custody. To take someone into custody, an officer would need to have probable cause. For instance, if an officer saw a person flashing a gang sign, it may represent probable cause to detain that person for questioning.

If an officer smells the odor of alcohol or marijuana, that could be considered probable cause. There is a chance that a judge may later determine that there wasn’t any probable cause. In such a scenario, any evidence that an officer obtained would be inadmissible in court. However, it wouldn’t necessarily mean that an officer broke the law.

Judges will use several variables to determine if there was probable cause to take someone into custody. For instance, they could use their prior history with an officer to determine if they acted in good faith. A judge might also use their experience to determine if the facts in a case could have provided a good faith reason to take someone into custody.

Individuals who have been charged with a crime may benefit from working with a criminal defense attorney. Legal counsel might be able to help a defendant get a charge dismissed before trial or obtain an acquittal after one has concluded. This may be done by asserting that there wasn’t any probable cause to take a person into custody. An attorney could also potentially cast doubt on witness testimony or other evidence used at trial.