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What is Considered Probable Cause for a Search Warrant?

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At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our Washington D.C. criminal defense attorney knows probable cause is a legal standard that refers to the reasonable belief that a crime has been committed, is being committed, or will be committed.

It is a crucial requirement for obtaining a search warrant, a court order that authorizes law enforcement to search a specific location for evidence related to a crime.

Here, we discuss potential factors that may be considered probable cause for a search warrant.

Search Warrant


Potential Factors That May Be Considered Probable Cause for a Search Warrant

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures and requires that search warrants be based on probable cause.

Depending on the circumstances and the crime in question, potential factors that may be reviewed to obtain a search warrant may include, but are not limited to:

  • Witness Statements

Statements from witnesses who claim to have observed criminal activity or have information about a crime.

  • Confidential Informants

Information is provided by confidential informants who have a reliable track record or have provided credible information in the past.

  • Police Observations

Observations made by law enforcement officers based on their training and experience lead them to believe a crime is occurring.

  • Surveillance

Evidence gathered through surveillance, like video footage or photographs, suggests criminal activity.

  • Physical Evidence

Tangible evidence, like drugs, weapons, or stolen property, is discovered during a lawful search or as a result of a police investigation.

  • Criminal History

A suspect’s criminal history or known involvement in illegal activities may contribute to probable cause.

  • Corroborating Information

Multiple sources of information that independently support the belief that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed.

  • Tips and Complaints

Tips or complaints from the public that are deemed credible and specific enough to establish probable cause.

It is important to note that the determination of probable cause is made by a judge based on the information presented in a search warrant application. Law enforcement officers must provide sufficient information to convince the judge that there is a reasonable belief that evidence of a crime can be found at the location to be searched.

Contact our skilled Criminal Defense Attorneys in Washington D.C.

If you have been arrested for a crime and believe your premises have been searched without a warrant, contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. at Lotze Mosley, LLP, by calling (202)-393-0535.

This will ensure your rights are protected from the beginning so you can make informed decisions about your future.

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