Those charged with a crime in Georgia will likely hear the term “probable cause.” This is a requirement for officers to make an arrest or execute a search warrant. Without it, officers have violated your constitutional rights.
Officers do not have a blank check for arrests or searches
Your legal rights prevent an officer from indiscriminately arresting you or taking your property for a search. First, police must have a reasonable basis to believe that a crime was committed or is occurring. If officers are seeking a search warrant, they need to lay out that probable cause for a magistrate to issue the warrant. If they wish to make an arrest, they first need to see some conduct that would be the justification for it.
Probable cause is more than just inferences and suspicion
Probable cause is not the same thing as the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt that is needed to convict a defendant in front of a jury. However, it is more than just the officer having a suspicion. Your criminal defense lawyer may challenge whether there truly was probable cause. If they are successful, your lawyer might have key evidence and everything that resulted from it dismissed in your trial. If you were illegally arrested, the charges could even be thrown out in their entirety. These are key issues that are addressed before your case goes to a jury. An illegal arrest or search could even be the basis for a civil lawsuit.
All of this is why it’s important to consult a defense attorney who knows the criminal process. Your attorney may review the circumstances of the arrest and every piece of evidence seized to make sure that the police have followed the law. If not, your attorney may be able to challenge the evidence in court.