Probable cause is one of the most important aspects of how the law works in America because it is what keeps people from being arrested with no rhyme or reason at the whims of law enforcement. Probable cause means that in order to be arrested, an officer must have an explainable reason as to why the suspect is being arrested. Probable cause can be obtained by law enforcement in a few different ways, but it is important to know the ways that it is sometimes obtained illegally in order to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here is what you need to know.
Detainment is different from actual arrests
Most would think that detainment and arrests are just different words for the same action but in reality, the difference between the two is very important in differentiating how probable cause can be defined and obtained. If someone is officially arrested it means that the officer already has enough evidence to tie a crime to the suspect and have the courts successfully file charges against them. An example of this is when an officer actually sees the crime being committed or they have multiple witnesses and DNA samples that can corroborate that a suspect committed or was involved with a crime. Detainment however is different because it is where law enforcement has reasonable suspicions to believe someone is involved with a crime but perhaps not yet enough to press charges. An example of when detainment could happen over arrest is when a driver is driving in a way that can appear reckless such as swerving in lanes or missing stop signs. An officer may stop and detain the suspect but will need to do further investigation to see if perhaps the suspect is inebriated which would lead to arrest and a DUI. If the officer finds nothing, they may still issue a citation but may not have enough grounds for arrest.
Police can’t just take assets without reason
Law enforcement does often have the right to seize assets when it comes to evidence in an investigation, but it is important to note that there are specific rules and parameters they must follow to do this and if not followed, it can be ruled out of bounds. Law enforcement cannot legally do a search without either approval of the owner or without a warrant being issued to do so. In some cases, they may act like they are able to which is why it’s so vital to know your rights in these types of situations.
What happens when evidence or probable cause is obtained illegally
If for any reason an officer seizes assets without permission or arrest or detains without probable cause and uses information during interrogation this way, it would be considered illegally obtained. Any good lawyer would point this out and in most circumstances, whatever was obtained this way would be considered not usable and thrown out as evidence in court. The only main situation in which this is not the case would be if the charges deal with terrorism or national security. In these situations, different rules apply and any evidence could be used for the safety of the nation overall.
To sum up, one cannot simply be arrested just because an officer may not like them, in America, there are protections that should provide protection and accountability to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and cannot be arrested without just cause.