The requirement, found in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, that must usually be met before police make an arrest, conduct a search or recieve a warrant. Courts usually find probable cause when there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed (for arrest) and that evidence of the crime is present in the place to be searched (for search).
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
The amount and quality of information police must have before they can search or arrest without a warrant. Most of the time, police must present their probable cause to a judge or majistrate, whom they ask for a search or arrest warrant. Information is reliable if it shows that it's more likely than not that a crime has occurred and the evidence sought exists at the place named in the search warrant, or that the suspect named in the arrest warrant has committed a crime.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:22 pm