What Is A Probable Cause Determination In Florida?
Being arrested is stressful. You may feel like you have no power when compared to law enforcement. However, the reality is different. You should never resist an arrest—even an unjust arrest—but you absolutely have the right to challenge a baseless arrest. In Florida, this may be done through a preliminary part of the criminal justice process called a probable cause determination of probable cause hearing. In this article, our Orlando criminal defense attorney provides an in-depth guide to the most important things that you should know about probable cause determinations in Florida.
Background: Understanding Probable Cause
The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution requires police to have probable cause to make an arrest. It is a crucial principle in the American justice system. In essence, probable cause exists when the facts and circumstances within a police officer’s knowledge would lead a reasonable person to believe that a crime has been, is being, or will be committed.
Police Need Probable Cause to Make an Arrest
For a police officer to make a lawful arrest, they must have probable cause to believe that the individual they are arresting has committed or is in the process of committing a crime. This determination is based on the officer’s observation, witness statements, and other evidence that would lead a reasonable person to the same conclusion. Arresting someone without probable cause is considered a violation of their constitutional rights.
You are Entitled to a Probable Cause Hearing Within 48 Hours (Unless Arrest Warrant)
If you are arrested without a warrant, you are entitled to a probable cause hearing within 48 hours. You may hear it called a probable cause determination. If the judge finds that there was no probable cause, they may order your immediate release. In cases where an arrest warrant has already been issued, a probable cause determination has been made by the judge before the issuance of the warrant, negating the need for a subsequent hearing.
Be Proactive: A Criminal Defense Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights at a Preliminary Hearing
The best defense against an unjustified charge is a proactive one. An Orlando criminal defense lawyer can help you to protect your rights and your interests during each and every step of the legal process. Among other things, this means that your attorney will advocate for you at a preliminary hearing and challenge any issues related to probable cause. Remember, if police and prosecutors lack probable cause, it means that charges should be dismissed. The arrest was improper and the defendant needs to be released from custody.
Contact Our Orlando, FL Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando criminal defense attorney is an aggressive, effective, and results-focused advocate for people who are going through a challenging time. If you have any specific questions or concerns about probable cause determinations, we can help. Contact our Orlando law office today to set up your fully confidential, no obligation initial consultation.