If a law enforcement officer stops you, they must have a reasonable suspicion
that you are acting illegally. This is known as probable cause, and it
is key in allowing a police officer to lawfully detain you, investigate
criminal activity, or arrest you. Probable cause requires the officer
to notice evidence or fact that lead them to reasonably suspect that your
behavior is illegal. Without probable cause, an officer may not pull you
over or arrest you.
Even if you are innocent, an arrest is valid, so long as there is probable
cause. You may not be charged or convicted of criminal activity, but your
arrest may still be considered lawful, if the officer had reasonable suspicion.
You arrest may be considered unlawful, however, if the judge determines
the officer did not have probable cause to stop you.
Probable cause is important for a number of reasons. It protects innocent
people from police harassment. It can prevent an officer from searching
a person or their vehicle and finding evidence that they would not have
discovered otherwise. It can also help prevent police from tricking people
into consenting to unlawful searches, and can prevent anything that is
found during an unlawful search from being used as evidence against the
If the officer does have probable cause, you still are able to refuse your
consent to a search. If an officer still searches, despite your lack of
consent, your lawyer may be able to make a motion to suppress the evidence.
The court may determine that the officer did not have probable cause,
and you may gain further protection from your charges. The judge will
have the final say regarding what can be used as probable cause, and what
Don’t face your criminal charges alone. Get in touch with our Milwaukee
criminal defense lawyer to find out how we can help you with your charges. At the
Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella, we are trial-tested and well-equipped to handle your case, no matter
how complex it may be.
Contact our offices to request a
free consultation by calling (414) 882-8382.