Criminal Defense; Probable & Reasonable Cause Legal Definition, Circumstantial Evidence & More

A few tenets need to be understood before we begin. First is the difference in the missions and priorities between local, here meaning municipal police or county sheriff’s office, and federal investigative authorities mission priorities. Local law enforcement is tactical law enforcement, while at the federal level you have the strategic initiative. Local police and sheriff deputies enforce the here and now. They intercede in domestic disputes, catch perpetrators in the act of or attempting escape from a crime and make a lot warrantless arrests based on probable cause. Federal authorities are not concerned with corner street drug dealer, they’re after and want the top people, those in charge. So, they will work themselves up the ladder to the ‘bosses’. They’re after the whole thing and very seldom make a warrantless arrest based solely on probable cause. Most federal arrestees are taken custody under warrant. In preparing a case for a criminal defense the defending attorney needs to assure that all of the criteria for the crime the defendant is accused of.

Probable Cause Legal Definition

First in a warrantless arrest the officer must establish a compliance with a hazily defined term, probable cause. Probable cause is the facts and circumstance would lead a reasonable and prudent person to believe that a crime has been committed and that the person in question either aided and abetted or is the principle in the commission of the said crime. Probable cause is an ill-defined term characterized by being fluid, imprecise and very dependent upon the context of the crime, and considers the totality of the circumstances. In other words it is circumstantial, and is viewed as a flexible approach, being a practical and non-technical standard. Search and arrest warrants must establish probable cause to be valid. All facts and circumstances are contained in either an affidavit or a declaration as to the pertinent facts including evidence collected during the investigation. The difference is that by law, affidavits are notarized and declarations are not but both are supported by statute.

Reasonable Cause Examples

Probable cause is more stringent than reasonable cause. Reasonable cause only establishes sufficient circumstances for an officer to detain someone for questioning and is not enough to arrest the person. In pther words there is a deficiency in the circumstances to warrant an arrest but enough articulable facts for the officer to conduct a street interview or investigate a situation. JDLR – just don’t look right basically police jargon for reasonable cause. Street detention for up to an hour is justified, unless supported by facts and circumstances.

Circumstantial, Physical, Witness & Other Evidence

Evidence is a collection of physical evidence circumstantial to the crime. Catch the word circumstantial to crime. Contrary to TV and the movies, about 90% of the evidence collected and presented in court is circumstantial. Take for example, murder with DNA collected. If the spouse or boyfriend or even just a friend is a possible suspect, that fact that his or her fingerprints or DNA are present have no circumstantial value, as these persons have access to the home, cars and other venues by right of relationship. But if the homicide is done by a stranger, these items have great circumstantial value. Physical evidence is fingerprints, DNA or other physical objects. Witness evidence is the other side of the evidence we may explore witnesses in the future.

Criminal Defense Attorneys in Greater Las Vegas, Nevada

Kajioka & Associates Attorneys at Law are experienced and skilled criminal defense attorneys. Contact us whenever you or a loved one need aggressive criminal defense representation.

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