When officers make an arrest or bring someone in for questioning they either need probable cause or reasonable suspicion. These two terms seem similar but they do have some differences. The two phrases are key for an officer to know when it is okay to stop someone and ask questions, search, and arrest the individual. Without either of these then there would be no grounds to do so. If a person is stopped, searched, questioned or arrested by law enforcement without grounds then this would be considered a violation of the individuals’ constitutional rights.
“The Supreme Court declares that having probable cause to make an arrest exists when law enforcement has knowledge of facts and information that would lead an individual to believe that a person is committing, had committed or is going to commit a crime. Law Enforcement should be able to put the facts and circumstances together to have probable cause” .
Two facts that police take into account of probable cause is suspicion and facts “Probable cause to look for evidence or to take evidence requires that police have enough facts and circumstances that would lead an individual to think that evidence will be found in the place to be searched” .
When considering probable cause the officer cannot go on a hunch or a feeling. There has to be circumstantial evidence or suspicious activity that may lead to a crime before probable cause can be portrayed. Another reason that would make probable cause not thrown out of court is if an officer questioned or searched an individual based on appearance. He looked like a thief so I searched him. That would not be irrelevant for probable cause. The circumstance or factual evidence is needed. Suspicion and evidence work together in probable cause. If an officer smells marijuana in a car that he stopped for speeding then he has probable cause to search without a warrant.
Hirby, J. (2013). Probable Cause v. Reasonable Suspicion. The Law, 1-4.
Stevens, R. (2011). Probable Cause. NPC, 1-8.