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What Does Probable Cause Mean in Florida?

by | Dec 28, 2020 | Criminal Defense, Criminal Defense Lawyer |

To understand what it means to have probable cause in the state of Florida, we must first discuss the definition of probable cause and when you’re likely to encounter it. Probable cause is the standard by which police authorities have reason to obtain a warrant for the arrest of a suspected criminal or the issuing of a search warrant. This can also be seen when grand juries issue criminal indictments.

The 4th Amendment protects you from unlawful search and seizure. Search and seizure is usually unlawful, unless there is probable cause, which can be backed with an issued warrant. A warrant should be obtained before a search can be conducted and these must be issued by a judge who has approved it after law enforcement has brought them reasoning under the belief that the circumstances and facts within his or her available knowledge would lead a reasonable person to believe two things that a criminal offense has been committed and that the potential arrestee committed the offense.

Probable cause is defined as reason to believe a person is in possession of stolen property, contraband, or otherwise evidence linked to a crime and that the location being searched is where it will be found. What is needed to show probable cause? • In order for probable cause to be shown, a law enforcement officer must have personally witnessed a situation or events that lead them to determine that it exists. Once this happens, it’s up to that officer to also convince a judge the same in order for them to issue a warrant. Once this warrant has been issued, it is then legal for the search to take place.

There are a few circumstances where probable cause and a warrant can be issued without having seen the actual events.

These are stated in three different Florida Statutes:

  • Florida Statute 790.233: related to possession of ammunition, firearms, or when a person is subject to injunctions against committing acts of stalking, domestic violence, or cyberstalking
  • Florida Statute 741.31: related to violation of an injunction for a domestic violence protection order
  • Florida Statute 784.07: related to violating a protective order for sexual violence, repeat violence, or sexual violence

If you or someone you know has been subjected to an illegal search and seizure without proper probable cause or a warrant, then it’s imperative that you seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Russell Spatz has decades of experience and is an expert with such legal proceedings. Give him a call today at (305) 442-0200 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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