What’s Probable Cause in Georgia?

What’s Probable Cause in Georgia?

Update July 9, 2024.

Probable Cause can be applied to any situation where there are facts sufficient to show probable cause that a crime is being committed or has been committed. This could range from something like a police officer seeing a person run a traffic light to hearing gunshots from a building. Probable cause is required to obtain a search or arrest warrant. Furthermore, probable cause can be justification for a police officer to make an arrest.

About 4th Amendment Protection

The Fourth Amendment establishes the people against unlawful search and seizure, so in order for it to be lawful – probable cause has to be present.

It is worth mentioning that, yes, a police officer does have the right to ask for identification, and you have an obligation to identify yourself (even if it is simply verbally). PRO TIP: Don’t argue with police on this or you’re probably going to end up arrested.

Proving the legitimacy of the reason used to pull you over can be a tricky matter. If an officer is not able to prove probable cause in making an arrest or the probable cause is not warranted then the charges can be dropped because of the Fourth Amendment.

Probable Cause vs. Reasonable Suspicion

What is the difference between probable cause and reasonable suspicion? You have most likely heard about probable cause from an officer or a TV show, and it is often confused wit

What is Probable Cause?

What is probable cause? Probable effectively means that a reasonable person would believe that a crime was in the process of being committed, had been committed, or was going to be committed. Probable cause is when an officer, from a tip or detection by sight, smell, or sound, has a reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has or is being committed. This is how officers are often able to make an arrest and get search warrants.

Law enforcement personnel must have probable cause to search an individual or search property (this applies to searches with or without a warrant). A prosecutor must confirm there was a valid reason to believe a person was involved in criminal conduct in order to move forward with any charges.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1968 that law enforcement officials can briefly detain someone if they have reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed, is being committed, or is about to be committed. To act on reasonable suspicion, a police officer relies on judgment (which is often biased); however, any action must be based on provable facts, conditions, and circumstances.

Reasonable suspicion is highly subjective and can become a major point to discuss in any defense representation. It states that law enforcement officers can question or detain a person if they believe a person has committed or is engaging in criminal activities. This belief has to be based on facts, but it is subjective to the officer’s background and training. Suspicion is enough to affect a traffic stop and detain you but it is not enough to search or arrest you.

Any arrest can be challenged, and a criminal defense lawyer can sometimes get charges to be dropped by intervening with the prosecutor’s office. If you have been arrested you should call us at 770-956-1400.

Jimmy Duncan
James Hobson is a digital marketing professional with 25 years of experience in web development, search engine optimization, local search and online advertising. James has over 40 years of sales and marketing experience ranging from entrepreneur to senior management for start-ups, SMB, and Fortune 100 companies. James has specific business expertise with advertising agency, law firm, service trade, manufacturing, construction and industrial sectors. He has been a sales and marketing speaker for events, and is a frequent contributing author for law and business blogs under the nom de plume Jimmy Duncan.