Probable Cause – The reasonable basis for suspicion of a crime or evidence of a crime. Probable cause is the whole set of facts and conditions that form a reasonable basis for a reasonable police officer to suspect a crime has been committed, a person has committed it, or there is evidence of it in a given place at a given time. In the absence of an indictment, the police or prosecution must demonstrate to a judge the bases of their probable cause to believe a specific crime was (or is being or about to be) committed by a given person or entity in order for the judge to issue an arrest warrant.

Likewise, the police or prosecution must demonstrate to a judge the bases of their probable cause to believe in a specific crime’s commission and the location of evidence of that crime in order for the judge to issue a search warrant for the place and evidence believed to be there. Probable cause may also be the basis for an unwarranted arrest and a reasonable, unwarranted search.