Probable Cause Definition

Probable Cause Attorney | Probable Cause Lawyer | Criminal Defense Lawyer

Probable Cause Definition

Probable Cause Attorney | Probable Cause Lawyer | Criminal Defense LawyerProbable cause is a term that is used often in criminal law. At its core, the term allows a police officer to arrest or search someone without a warrant and it is required before a judge can issue an arrest warrant. Probable cause is also required before a grand jury can return an indictment.
The requirement that police act with probable cause comes from the 4th Amendment, 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.

What is the Definition of Probable Cause?

Although probable cause is a term that is used often in the criminal law, it does not have a fixed definition. A common definition used by the courts is “a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person’s belief that certain facts are probably true.” This definition is painfully vague. It does not require the police officer to be confident that he or she is right nor does it require the police officer’s judgment to be ultimately correct. Indeed, probable cause can be found when a police officer makes a mistake as long as the mistake was reasonable. The definition allows a police officer to use his or her knowledge and experience in making the probable cause determination. Ultimately, probable cause exists when the facts and circumstances are sufficient to warrant a prudent person to believe that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

How Can Probable Cause Be Established?

Probable cause exists when the police officer has sufficient facts to justify a stop or search. To warrant the search or seizure the police officer’s actions must be based upon actual facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable officer to believe that criminal activity has occurred or is about to occur.

To satisfy the probable cause requirement a police officer is allowed to his or her personal observations; hearsay statements made to the officer; the officer’s expertise; and any circumstantial evidence available at the time of the search or seizure.

What Happens When the Police Conduct an Arrest or a Search Without Probable Cause?

Probable cause is a term that dominates 4th Amendment law. All warrantless arrests and searches must be conducted within the confines of the Constitution. The courts struggled to fashion an appropriate remedy for police that violated a person’s Fourth Amendment protections. Ultimately, the Supreme Court held that all evidence that was obtained as a result of a 4th Amendment violation must be suppressed and unavailable as evidence in any future prosecution. This drastic remedy is known as the exclusionary rule.

The exclusionary rule acts as a deterrent to future police behavior. The exclusionary rule not only suppress the evidence that was seized at the time of the illegal search or arrest but any evidence that was obtained following the illegal search or seizure. Of course, there are numerous exceptions to the exclusionary rule and evidence that is attenuated from the 4th amendment violation or evidence that would have been discovered regardless of the probable cause violation can still be used by the prosecution.

What is a Suppression Hearing?

The exclusionary rule does not automatically apply. In fact, the United Supreme Court has said that the exclusionary rule should be used only when the suppression will deter future police action. A defendant seeking to invoke the exclusionary rule must first file a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The trial court will then conduct a hearing and receive evidence at the hearing. The defendant must establish that his or her 4th Amendment rights were violated by the police action. If the defendant is successful, then the prosecution must rebut the defendant’s evidence by a preponderance of the evidence.

Conclusion

Probable cause is a very fact-based legal term. Case law is filled with cases that are identical that have reached a different result on the legality of a warrantless arrest or search. Most of the time, the difference in results is the ability of the criminal defense attorney to establish a 4th amendment violation.

Jaleel Law P.C. has the experience to properly handle suppression hearings and the know-how to present the evidence in the effective and persuasive manner. If you have been arrested for any crime without a warrant, you may have a successful suppression motion based upon a lack of probable cause. Contact Jaleel Law P.C. to discuss your situation and how we can help.

Know Your Rights: Can the Police Make You Get Out of Your Car?

Can a Police Officer Order You Out of Your Car

Can a Police Officer Order You Out of Your Car

Know Your Rights: Can the Police Make You Get Out of Your Car?

Most encounters with the police occur after a traffic stop and while most traffic stops are routine, the cops are trained to view traffic stops as a potentially dangerous or deadly situation. That view sometimes can result in terrible outcomes, which is why it is imperative that everyone knows their rights.

A situation that arises more often than not is a police officer asking someone to get out of his or her car following a routine traffic stop. While common sense says that being asked by the police to get out of your car after being stopped for something as trivial as an expired registration sticker or not using a turn signal is unreasonable and an invasion of someone’s rights, the United States Supreme Court held otherwise. In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court held that the police can make you get out of your car after a valid traffic stop. This ruling applies to the driver and all the passengers in a car. Because of this ruling in Pennsylvania vs. Mimms, a person must exit their car if ordered to do so by the police.

Background of Pennsylvania vs. Mimms

Mimms involved a case where two Philadelphia police officer stopped a car being driven by Harry Mimms for driving with expired plates. After stopping his car, the police ordered Mimms to step out of his car, which was common practice for the police department. After Mimms complied with the officer’s order, the police observed an unusual bulge in Mimms’s jacket. The police then searched Mimms and discovered a handgun.

Mimms unsuccessfully sought to have the gun suppressed on the grounds the police violated his 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have probable cause to order Mimms out of his car and reversed the conviction against him. However, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to take the case on appeal to answer the question whether the police order to Mimms for him to get out of the car, which was given after Mimms was lawfully stopped for a traffic violation, was reasonable and thus permissible under the 4th Amendment?

In a 6-3 per curium opinion, SCOTUS held that the police routinely asked drivers who were being ticketed to exit their cars for the safety of the officer. The police stated that it would diminish the chance that person could get something from the car while the police officer is writing the ticket and attack the officer. Also if the stop was executed in a high traffic area, having the driver stand between the police car and the driver’s car allows the police to conduct the traffic stop away from moving traffic.

Why Can the Police Make You Get Out of Your Car?

The Mimms Court held that allowing the police to make a driver exit his car is a nothing more than a “mere inconvenience” to the driver especially when compared to the safety benefits to the police. The Court reasoned that since the car was stopped after a valid traffic stop and ordering the driver to get out of the car was a “minimal and reasonable intrusion” of his freedom. The Court further held that the search would have occurred regardless if the Mimms was out of his car or seated because the bulge in his jacket was visible while he was seated in the car. The Court held that the bulge allowed the police to assume that Mimms was armed and posed a danger to the police. Under these circumstances, the Mimms Court held that any cop of “reasonable caution” would likely have conducted the “pat down” of Mimms.

The dissenting opinions in Mimms that were written by Justices Marshall and Stevens argued that the new rule created by Pennsylvania vs. Mimms greatly expanded the police officer’s right in searching an individual that they stopped. The dissenting opinions predicted what would happen, the police were limited in searching an individual only to the extent they could an invent a justification for the search based upon officer safety.

After a traffic stop it is imperative that you do everything possible to protect your rights and that can only begin if you know your rights. If stopped by the police for a traffic stop, the officer can order you out of your car without violating your constitutional rights. However, that doesn’t prevent you from doing everything to protect your rights. Remember the interaction as best as you can and write it down, better yet record the interaction.

However, the most important thing you can do is hire a criminal defense attorney who knows what he or she is doing. Not all criminal defense lawyers are fully versed on the 4th amendment and search and seizure law. Contact Jaleel Law today to discuss how we can help win your case.

 

Conclusion

The current state of search and seizure law allows a police officer to order a driver and the passengers out of vehicle that is stopped for even a minor traffic violation. However, the law does not require you to answer any questions or to consent to a search of your vehicle. If a police officer orders you out of your car, you must comply and do what the officer orders but remember to not answer any questions and don’t allow the police officer to search your car.

If you have been arrested following a traffic stop, contact the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Jaleel Law P.C. to discuss your options. We have successfully had the evidence against our clients suppressed because the police violated our clients’ 4th Amendment rights. Call us today to discuss what we can do for you.

At Jaleel Law P.C. we can help you appeal your case if you have been wrongfully accused of a crime. Contact us today via our Appeals website

How to Beat a DUI Charge- Top 5 Ways

Learn the Top 5 Ways to Beat a DUI

How to Beat a DUI Charge in Illinois-Top 5 Ways

A DUI charge in Illinois is a serious crime that carries with it significant penalties for a DUI including mandatory jail time in certain situations. However, a DUI charge will never go to sentencing if you beat your DUI case. Here are the 5 best ways to beat a DUI charge in Chicago or anywhere else in Illinois.

1) Win a Motion to Suppress Evidence and Quash Arrest

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

Learn the Top 5 Ways to Beat a DUI
Learn the Top 5 Ways to Beat a DUI

Every person, regardless if they are a citizen or undocumented, has a 4th Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure. Most driving while under the influence or DWI charges start following a traffic stop. Because of this fact, every DUI/DWI charge that begins with a traffic stop must be supported with probable cause, which means the police officer must have a valid basis to stop your car in the first place because the 4th Amendment protects drivers from being arbitrarily stopped by the police for no reason. However, any traffic violation however small can be enough probable cause to conduct a valid traffic stop within the meaning of the 4th Amendment.

An experienced DUI attorney can use the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to beat a DUI case. For example, when the police allege a aggravated speeding violation to justify a traffic stop, a skilled DUI attorney can establish that the police were incorrect in their assessment because their radar gun was not properly calibrated prior to the traffic stop or it was used incorrectly. If a lane violation is the probable cause to justify a traffic stop, a very common police claim, a DUI attorney well versed in Illinois DUI law can establish that the lane violation was warranted based upon the road or traffic conditions, which could defeat the probable cause claim offered by the State.

A competent DUI attorney experienced in fighting 4th Amendment issues can use a litany of arguments to win a probable cause hearing based upon a constitutionally deficient traffic stop. After winning a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence the State will be forced to dismiss charges against you that is why winning a motion to suppress evidence and quash arrest is such a great way to beat a DUI charge in Illinois.

2) Get the Breathalyzer Evidence Suppressed

Any competent DUI lawyer would advice his or her client to never submit to a breathalyzer test. The reason is simple. A breathalyzer result that is over the legal limit is the strongest evidence a prosecutor has in a DUI/DWI case. However, before a prosecutor can admit the results of the breathalyzer, a proper foundation needs to be established. The foundation required before a breath test can be used as evidence include a host of different things from the licensing required of the operator; the type of breathalyzer machine that can be used; how the test must be conducted; to how the log books that record the results are kept and maintained.

If these requirements are not met then the results of the breathalyzer test could be suppressed. An experienced DUI lawyer can file a motion to suppress the breath test results based upon a lack of a proper foundation for the breathalyzer results. Although a successful motion to suppress the breath test results likely won’t result in an outright dismissal, it will result in the suppression of a key piece of the State’s evidence in a DUI case, which is why it is such a great way to a beat a DUI case in Illinois.

3) Attack the Reliability of the Field Sobriety Tests

Another great method of beating a DUI charge is attacking the reliability of the field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests or FSTs consists of 3 tests created by the National Traffic Safety Administration. According to the studies conducted by NHTSA, field sobriety tests that are conducted according to its stringent guidelines are 90% accurate in detecting whether someone has a BAC higher than 0.01. It is important to note that the FSTs are not 100% accurate even when conducted in an ideal situation. However, such a situation rarely ever occurs in an actual DUI case where the field sobriety tests are conducted on the side of the road usually in the middle of a cold night.

A DUI attorney who has the requisite knowledge and experience can attack the reliability of the field sobriety tests to the extent that they play no part in a jury’s verdict. Once a skilled lawyer attacks the reliability of the field sobriety tests, the remainder of the police officer’s testimony is also called into question, which is why it is one of the top 5 ways to beat a DUI.

4) Prevent the Prosecution from Establishing Under the Influence

Most DUI/DWI charges in Illinois require the State to prove that the DUI defendant was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. Under the influence is a legal term that is vastly different than being drunk. Under Illinois DUI law, under the influence can be any amount of alcohol that lowers a person’s ability to drive or act with ordinary care.

A skilled DUI lawyer can poke holes in the State’s theory and establish reasonable doubt as to whether a DUI defendant was under the influence. The crux of being under the influence is bad driving or in DUI parlance, erratic driving. An experienced DUI lawyer can establish that even though alcohol may have been consumed it didn’t result in the driver being “under the influence” because the alcohol didn’t affect the person’s ability to operate a car with ordinary care. Even in situations where an accident occurred, a proficient DUI lawyer can establish that the traffic crash was not a result of the alcohol but a result of the road conditions or mechanical error as opposed to driver error. Because under the influence is an element of most Illinois DUI charges and because it can be attacked in numerous different ways, it is a critical means of beating a DUI charge.

5) Jury Nullification

The final method in beating a DUI case is arguably the most difficult and requires the most proficiency from a DUI attorney. According to Wikipedia, jury nullification “occurs in a trial when a jury acquits a defendant, even though the members of the jury may believe that the defendant did the illegal act, yet they don’t believe he or she should be punished for it. This may occur when members of the jury disagree with the law the defendant has been charged with breaking, or believe that the law should not be applied in that particular case.“ Based on this definition one can see why it requires more than just a competent DUI attorney to pull off. To be successful, DUI lawyer must convince the jury to deliberately reject the evidence or to refuse to apply established law. Most importantly, a DUI attorney must persuade the jury to ignore the oath they took to return a verdict based solely on the law and the facts of the case. If this burden wasn’t difficult enough, the law prohibits a lawyer from arguing jury nullification to the jury. Despite all these shortcomings, jury nullification is still a great way to beat a DUI case.

In DUI law, jury nullification typically arises in actual physical control cases. In these situations, the DUI defendant is never caught driving a car; rather, the person is caught sleeping in a car while intoxicated. According to Illinois DUI law, sleeping in a car is the equivalent of driving. However, to most people sleeping in a car while drunk is vastly different from driving a car while drunk. A capable DUI lawyer can use the jury’s common sense to establish jury nullification without violating the prohibition from an attorney arguing for jury nullification. Although difficult jury nullification sometimes is the only available defense and when an experienced attorney employs it the outcome could result in an acquittal. Jury nullification is always a defense of last resort but when nothing else is available it could be a way to beat a DUI charge.

Conclusion

How do I beat my DUI case, is a question that we are asked on a daily basis at Jaleel Law P.C. While all DUI charges are different and the individual facts of each case are different, at least one of these top 5 ways to beat a DUI charge should be available in your case. However, as you can see being successful depends upon the ability of your DUI lawyer to effectively deploy these tactics because an incompetent attorney attempting these methods will likely result in you losing your case and possibly finding yourself in jail.

If you are facing a DUI charge in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, contact us today to discuss what method we can use to potentially beat your DUI case.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Search and Seizure Law

search and seizure definition

Search and Seizure Law

The right to be free from an unreasonable search and seizure is protected by both the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section VI of the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

The Fourth Amendment 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.

Whereas, Article I, Section VI of the Illinois Constitution states:

The people shall have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and other possessions against unreasonable searches, seizures, invasions of privacy or interceptions of communications by eavesdropping devices or other means. No warrant shall issue without probable cause, supported by affidavit particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Based upon the language of the 4th Amendment a search and seizure is reasonable if supported by a valid warrant. A warrant is valid if probable cause authorizes the search and seizure. However, a warrantless search and seizure is valid under several exceptions.

What are some of the Exceptions to a Warrantless Search and Seizure?

No Reasonable Expectations of Privacy

The 4th Amendment only protects an individual against an unreasonable search and seizure when that person has a legitimate expectation of privacy in the property that was subjected to the search or seizure. For example, a person does not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in possessing contraband or in abandoned property.

Consent

A constitutionally invalid search and seizure can be valid if the owner of the property voluntarily consents to the search and seizure. Whether the consent is voluntary depends upon the totality of the circumstances. Further, the police officer does not need to advise a suspect that they can refuse the search and seizure. In certain situations, a third-party may consent to the search and seizure.

Exigent Circumstances

Exigent circumstances also can support a warrantless search and seizure. Exigent circumstances are situations where the police officer must act quickly and there is not sufficient time to obtain a search warrant. The exigent circumstances exception applies only situations where there is a reasonable belief that evidence is in imminent danger of being removed or destroyed. However, probable cause must support the police action that leads up to the exigent circumstance.

Conclusion

The 4th Amendment protects people against unreasonable search and seizures. Generally, a search and seizure is valid if there is a warrant authorizing the search and seizure. However, the Supreme Court has created multiple exceptions to the general rule.

Whether your constitutional rights have been violated by an unreasonable search and seizure depends on the facts of your case. At Jaleel Law P.C. we have the experience to handle your case, we have successfully fought and defended individuals that have suffered unreasonable searches and seizures. Contact us to discuss how we can help you prove that your 4th Amendment rights have been violated.

The Use of Drug Sniffing Dogs

drug sniffing dog search

The Use of Drug Sniffing Dogs

 

The use of a drug sniffing dog by law enforcement is one of the key tools in a police officers arsenal. A drug dog sniff allows the police to quickly decide whether a person or a car is carrying drugs, guns, or any other illegal substance.

Is the Use of a Drug Sniffing Dog a Search?

Even though the police are able to tell what someone is carrying or has in their car, the United States Supreme Court has held that an alert by a drug sniffing dog is not a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Additionally, the police are able to walk a drug detection dog around the exterior of a car without violating a person’s constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court reasoned that the use of a drug sniffing dog is not a search because drug dog sniff only occurs on the exterior of a vehicle and it does not require the police to enter the car. The use of a drug sniffing dog is not a search because the drug dog sniff doesn’t disclose any information other than the presence or absence of narcotics.

When Can the Police Use a a Drug Sniffing Dog?

The police may use a drug detection dog only if the drug sniffing dog is “well-trained.” The use of the drug sniffing dog cannot change the change the character of the stop, which means that the police stop cannot be extended or prolonged for the police to bring a drug sniffing dog on to the scene. The police are able to use a drug sniffing dog without probable cause if it takes place within a valid stop and if it is conducted in a reasonable manner. However, to extend a police stop to bring a drug sniffing dog onto the scene requires the police to act with probable cause.

The police can also order you to do things to aide the drug sniffing dog when it is making an exterior sniff of your vehicle. The courts have held that the police can order a driver to roll up his or her windows and turn the blower on high before using a drug sniffing dog.

Conclusion

The use of drug sniffing dog is a tool that police love to use because it does not violate your Fourth Amendment rights when used properly. An alert by a well-trained drug sniffing dog is more than sufficient probable cause to search your car. When the police do use a drug sniffing dog it must be used correctly and it cannot unreasonably extend your interaction with the police.

Jaleel Law P.C. has the experience to guide you successfully through your criminal or DUI case. We have fought on behalf of clients who have been subjected to a search by a drug sniffing dog. If you have been arrested in Chicago, Maywood, Bridgeview, Markham, Rolling Meadows, Skokie, Du Page, Lake, Will, or Kendall Counties contact us today to discuss how our know-how can help you fight your case.

The 4th Amendment

4th amendement definition

The 4th Amendment

The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Illinois Constitution protect individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. Like many constitutional rights, the rights guaranteed by the 4th Amendment are personal rights, which means they cannot be vicariously asserted. In other words, an offender who is the victim of an illegal search and seizure of a 3rd premises or property has not had any of his or her 4th Amendment rights violated. As a result, the exclusionary rule does not apply to those offenders who are aggrieved by an illegal search and seizure only through the introduction of damaging evidence secured by a search of a third person’s premises or property.

Who Does the 4th Amendment Protect?

Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has always protected those who had “standing” to raise a 4th Amendment claim. However, modern 4th Amendment law is concerned whether the DUI offender claiming the protections of the 4th Amendment had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the place searched. The person challenging a search has the burden of establishing that he or she had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the searched property.

What Factors Does a Court Consider in Determining Whether a Person has a Legitimate Expectation of Privacy?

The question whether a defendant has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the area searched or the items seized must be resolved in view of the totality of the circumstances of the particular case. Relevant factors in determining whether a legitimate expectation of privacy exists include:

  1. The individual’s ownership or possessory interest in the property
  2. Prior use of the property
  3. Subjective expectation of privacy
  4. Ability to control or exclude others’ use of the property

What Should I do if I have been Illegally Searched?

The exclusionary rule applies to evidence that was illegally obtained. If you have been the victim of an illegal search it is imperative that you consult with an Illinois attorney who has the experience to litigate a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. An experienced Illinois attorney like the former DUI prosecutor at Jaleel Law P.C. will ensure that your Illinois attorney has the experience and know-how that you deserve.

Conclusion

The 4th Amendment protects you from the State violating your right to privacy and from conduction unreasonable searches and seizures. If your 4th Amendment rights have been violated it will prevent the prosecution from using the illegally obtained evidence against you.

If you have been arrested for a criminal offense or DUI, contact Jaleel Law P.C. to see if you have a valid claim that 4th Amendment rights have been violated.