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Understanding the Legality of Arrests Under the Fourth Amendment

The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq., is committed to providing informative insight into the judicial process, particularly when it involves important issues such as the legality of arrests. It's essential to know when law enforcement authorities have the right to arrest an individual and to recognize the parameters that define a lawful apprehension.

An arrest is the act of the police taking a person into custody, and it is considered complete once an individual is no longer at liberty to leave the officer’s presence. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution stipulates that an arrest is only lawful if the police have "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed and that the individual in question is responsible.

Probable cause serves as a safeguard against the unwarranted seizure of persons and bars law enforcement from detaining citizens on baseless grounds. It mandates that arrests must be founded on clear, objective evidence, not merely suspicion or instinct. Here are some key points to understand about probable cause:

  • Police officers must identify concrete, factual circumstances that support the belief that a suspect has engaged in criminal activity. It is insufficient for an officer to claim probable cause based on an intuitive feeling.
  • The determination of probable cause is ultimately in the hands of a judge, not the arresting officer. An officer’s conviction that probable cause exists must be validated by judicial examination, and if a judge finds the evidence wanting, probable cause is not established.
  • The existence of probable cause at the time of arrest is pertinent, even if subsequent findings prove that the police were mistaken. Therefore, as long as the arrest was founded on probable cause, law enforcement is generally shielded from legal action for wrongful arrest, should the charges be dropped or if the accused is found not guilty.

Yet, the critical question remains: How much evidence do police officers need to secure an arrest warrant or to justify an arrest without a warrant? Probable cause demands more than slight suspicion but does not necessitate proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The Fourth Amendment does not offer a precise definition of probable cause, leaving it to the discretion of judges to interpret the concept based on the original intent behind the term, past judicial decisions in similar circumstances, and the balance between the rights of the police and those of individuals.

Every warrant issued and every case reviewed where probable cause is a factor further refines its meaning. The Law Office of Monte J. Robbins, Esq., stands ready to assist individuals who believe their Fourth Amendment rights have been violated. If you need advice or representation in matters of unlawful arrest, please contact us at 303-355-5148 to ensure your rights are protected.

Client Reviews
"An excellent lawyer choice for my son who was charged with driving while his license was revoked. DMV had mistakenly sent (3) letters of revocation to the incorrect address, so I hired Monty to prove that my son never knew his license was revoked. Monty kept me informed at all times as to what was happening and what he doing to prove my son's innocence in this matter. We were to appear in court on 29 March 2012 and Monte informed us on 27 March 2012, that the case had been dismissed!!! Monte charged a fair, flat rate for what he did in this matter and should the need arise to hire a lawyer or to recommend a lawyer, I would not hesitate to give Monte's name.” Linda
"I consulted three other attorneys on my traffic offense in Colorado and none of them thought I could beat it. Then I consulted with Monte Robbins. He not only relieved my warrant without my presence in Colorado, but he got my habitual driving offense reduced to an infraction. I was up against the wall on this case but thanks to Monte miracles are possible. I have hired my share of attorneys and Monte Robbins has produced the best results for me yet. After being without my driving privileges for ten years I paid a small fine and am legal with a clean record. I Highly recommend this attorney." Steve
"I hired Monte J. Robbins to represent me. He gave 110% to my case never rushed me off the phone, quick to gather all information regarding my case. Monte is very knowledgeable and helped me out a lot. He kept me informed every step of the way through my case. I was always able to get a hold of him for any questions i had. The outcome of my case was way better then i had expected. Monte did a excellent job on my case and I would highly recommend him to anyone. Monte won my case and I am confident that he can do the same for anyone else." Jeremy