Understanding Probable Cause – When an Officer Has the Power to Arrest You in Texas

We all have constitutional rights that must be respected when making contact with law enforcement officials.  Most of us generally know what the “Miranda warning” is and that this warning is read to an individual upon arrest.  However, what some of us might not be aware of is when a law enforcement official has the power to make an arrest.  Even if you have heard of the term “probable cause,” it is a good idea to find out as much as you possibly can about probable cause, so that you have an understanding of when an officer can and cannot make a lawful arrest.

What is Probable Cause?

Probable cause has the same meaning in Texas as it does in every other state.  Probable cause is intended to be a threshold requirement that an officer must establish before making an arrest.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for officers to make arrests without meeting the probable cause threshold requirement.  Probable cause may be established if an officer has objective evidence that leads him or her to believe that an individual has committed a crime.  This is something that is more than “reasonable suspicion,” which is a lower threshold.  An officer may be able to detain an individual if he or she has an objectively reasonable basis for believing the individual has committed a crime.

Probable cause is different from reasonable suspicion in that no arrest can be made based on reasonable suspicion alone.  There must be some sort of evidence that an officer can point to in order to link you to a particular crime.  As such, individuals who are arrested based on anything less than probable cause may have grounds for having their criminal charges dismissed.  Being arrested without probable cause is a violation of your Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure.

Why it is Crucial to Have Experienced Legal Counsel

Individuals who defend against criminal charges without the assistance of a skilled attorney are not doing everything they can to fight for their rights, as it is necessary to have the best legal representation possible.  With the guidance of a seasoned Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney, you will know whether or not there may be grounds to have your criminal charge dismissed based on the unconstitutional conduct of the arresting officer.  However, it is important to understand that the judge has the final say as to whether or not probable cause exists that you have committed a crime.  Regardless of whether or not a judge believes probable cause existed in your case, you still have a fighting chance to overcome your criminal charge in the most reasonable way possible given the individual circumstances of your case, so long as you have a strong advocate by your side.

Contact Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit Today to Schedule an Initial Consultation

Being arrested is a frightening experience for anyone, but especially so for those being arrested for the first time.  Many individuals being arrested in and around Dallas are not fully aware of what their rights are, and simply listen to an officer’s orders without asking questions.  If you have a good understanding of probable cause and when an officer actually has the power to arrest you, it may be easier for you to determine that a police officer may be stepping outside of his or her bounds.  If you or someone you know has been arrested and is facing criminal charges, it is important that you speak with a skilled Dallas County Criminal Defense Attorney right away, as time is of the essence.  Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney Jack Pettit has more than thirty years of experience, both as a former prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney.  To schedule your initial consultation with Jack Pettit, contact our office today by calling (214) 521-4567.  Our office conveniently provides bilingual legal services in both English and Spanish, and we also accept major credit cards.


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