Probable Cause

In the United States criminal court system, probable cause refers to facts or evidence that would make a reasonable person believe that a crime or wrong doing has been, is being, or will be committed.

This term was taken from the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Evidence is important during court proceedings. In fact, evidence can make or break a case, and the more reliable the evidence, the better chance someone has of winning a case. Some searches are also allowed during incidents that lead to an arrest.

There are two types of evidence used in court; one is circumstantial evidence and the other is direct evidence. While having one type of evidence or the other is very valuable, the presence of both can solidify a case.

In the event that evidence is obtained illegally, it will fall under the “exclusionary rule.” This means that the evidence can not be used against the defendant at trial. However, if the officer acted in good faith, the evidence may be allowed at trial.

Suppression of evidence is the term used to describe the prevention of evidence from being shown in a criminal trial.