Question Regarding Probable Cause! | MassCops

Question Regarding Probable Cause!

Discussion in 'Ask A Cop' started by JamesSupports2, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. JamesSupports2

    JamesSupports2 New Member


    I'm currently a criminal justice major and would like a little more understanding on the concept of probable cause. I understand it is the standard needed to effect an arrest or to preform a search, however I was curious what is the lowest amount needed for probable cause. For example suppose you have a crime, such as an indecent A&B, where all you have is a victim's statement. There are no marks, witnesses, or other evidence that could possibly assist you. Would the statement alone be enough to effect an arrest or is more needed?

    I would greatly appreciate any assistance!

  2. Hush

    Hush Moderator Staff Member

    Okay, who did you indecently assault?

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  3. JamesSupports2

    JamesSupports2 New Member

    Lmao not the best example :cool:
  4. Hush

    Hush Moderator Staff Member

    No. It was oddly specific. Most of the "general" questions new people tend to ask, it's usually about a specific issue.

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  5. JamesSupports2

    JamesSupports2 New Member

    It was the first first crime that came to my mind that is typically he said she said. I suppose you could use a ABDW where one party claims they were assaulted. The main point here is can arrests be based solely on victim statements / witness statements.
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  6. Tango_Sierra

    Tango_Sierra MassCops Member

    In CJ classes they go over probable cause about a million times :rolleyes:
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  7. RodneyFarva

    RodneyFarva Get off my lawn!

    Named citizen + Felony + under/over 14yo vic. = Arrest*

    *when in doubt summons.

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  8. TacEntry

    TacEntry MassCops Member

    By the time you get to the point in your life and career that you really need to know this, you will.
    CapeSpecial and Joel98 like this.
  9. Nhcop

    Nhcop MassCops Member

    In Brinegar v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court defines probable cause as "where the facts and circumstances within the officers' knowledge, and of which they have reasonably trustworthy information, are sufficient in themselves to warrant a belief by a man of reasonable caution that a crime is being committed."
  10. AB7

    AB7 MassCops Member

    Probable cause by definition is specific articulable facts that a crime has or is being committed.

    In the case of your indecent A&B example, unless it happens in your presence then there’s really no urgency to run out and arrest the guy or gal. You would gather your facts and apply for a warrant usually. Your victim should go to a hospital for a rape kit, depending on if it would show anything to support the accusation. A slap on the ass isn’t going to show up on a rape kit.

    The ABDW example is different. Does your victim show signs of being injured? Redness, bruising, broken bones, cuts, scrapes, etc? How recently the crime was committed was it last week, was it five minutes ago? All this would determine whether you go seeking the person to effect an arrest or apply for a warrant.

    You can’t be held liable for false imprisonment if you in good faith applied for a warrant and it was granted. Same applies to a summons. When in doubt, don’t arrest.
  11. USM C-2

    USM C-2 MassCops Member

    Easiest way for a street cop to understand it is Aguilar/Spinelli 2-pronged test.
    1. Reliability - do you have a person willing to give you their name and have it be associated with their statement? If so, inherently reliable.
    2. Basis of knowledge - did your named person witness the act themselves? If so, you have the required basis of knowledge.

    Those two prongs get you the minimum PC to charge someone, but that isn't enough for a prosecutor.
    If either or both prongs are deficient, there are more cases to study but for a street cop, if you hit this level you are good to go.
  12. WMA7787

    WMA7787 MassCops Member

    This ^
  13. CapeSpecial

    CapeSpecial MassCops Member

    Beat me to it
    Sooty, pahapoika and Hush like this.

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