What Is a Probable Cause Hearing?
A probable cause hearing is part of the pre-trial stages of a criminal case. During such hearing, a judge will decide whether probable cause existed, typically in relation to an arrest or evidence search.
Probable cause is the reasonable assumption that a suspect has committed or is planning to commit a crime, based on objective facts. Law enforcement officials must establish probable cause before they can arrest or seize evidence from a suspect.
What Is the Purpose of a Probable Cause Hearing?
There are two main reasons why a probable cause hearing is required. The first occurs prior to an arrest being made, when a judge is requested to issue a warrant for a suspect’s arrest. In this instance, police officers must establish probable cause before they can receive an arrest warrant.
The second occasion occurs after an arrest has already been made. A judge needs to decide whether the arrest was legal or not and whether law enforcement had probable cause to make the arrest. This is often called a “preliminary hearing” and is associated with a suspect’s arraignment.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Probable Cause Hearing?
Probable cause hearings are typically complex, which is why it may be necessary to obtain the legal assistance of a qualified criminal defense lawyer. If you have any questions or concerns about your probable cause hearing, it is best to enlist the legal services of an attorney, who can represent you during the hearing.