Probable Cause in Utah | The Standard for Search and Arrest

Probable Cause is Justification

Probable cause is the measure of justification that is necessary for any full scale intrusions such as searches, seizures, and arrests.  When Utah police officers act pursuant to a warrant, the determination of whether probable cause exists is made by a judge prior to the proposed invasive action.

Utah law enforcement is permitted to act without a warrant in limited situations such as DUI arrests.  When police officers act without receiving a warrant issued by a judge, the officer must make the initial evaluation of probable cause.  The officer’s determination is reviewable in court after the search on a motion to suppress the evidence discovered by a criminal defense attorney.

The Probable Cause Scale in Utah

Probable cause is defined as that quantity of facts and circumstances within the police officer’s knowledge that would cause a reasonable person to conclude that the individual in question has committed a crime, in cases of arrests, or that specific items related to criminal activity will be found at a particular place, in cases of searches.  The information can include reasonably trustworthy hearsay as well as the officer’s own personal  observations.  An adequate showing of probable cause requires specific and concrete facts, not merely conclusive speculations.

On a scale of probability, probable cause is something more than just hunch or suspicion, but considerably less than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  To be convicted of a crime, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person committed the crime.  Somewhat different showings are required for arrest and search situations.  The implications of this difference can be seen in the so-called “staleness” problem with regard to search warrants.  Criminal items are often easily transportable so probable cause to search must include a likelihood that the items sought are presently at the place to be searched.  Timeliness of the information relied upon by police is more important there than in the context of an arrest, where the probable cause of believing that the suspect committed the crime does not usually dissipate with time.

Utah Attorneys Make Sure There is Probable Cause

If you have been searched or arrested by Utah police without a warrant, call the criminal defense attorneys from Salcido Law Firm Law firm.  The lawyers at Salcido Law Firm will evaluate your situation and determine if there was any probable cause for your arrest or search.  Attorneys may be able to suppress evidence that the prosecutor seeks to use against you in a criminal trial.  Call the lawyers of Salcido Law Firm today at 801.618.1334

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