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How Cops Establish Probable Cause

Posted by Mark Garka | Oct 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

The state gives cops the authority to stop and arrest citizens; however, officers can only make arrests when they have probable cause. Unfortunately, many do not understand how cops establish probable cause, but the Law Office of Mark Garka is here to clear up the confusion.

Arrests & Probable Cause

As the Washington State Legislature says, cops can make misdemeanor arrests without warrants when an offense is committed in the presence of an officer. However, there are plenty of scenarios where cops can arrest people for misdemeanors committed outside of their presence.

For example, Washington law states that a police officer with probable cause can arrest someone for violating the following traffic laws:

  • Striking an unattended car or other property;
  • Reckless driving or racing of vehicles;
  • Persons under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs;
  • Driving a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license;
  • Operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner.

As you can see, these traffic violations are fairly different from one another. Therefore, probable cause looks different in each of the circumstances.

If an officer suspects someone of striking an unattended vehicle, probable cause may look like damage on the vehicle in question that matches the damage of the car that was hit.

However, probable cause for an operating a motor vehicle in a negligent manner charge would look different. In this circumstance, probable cause may come from an eyewitness who saw the negligence, or a confession from the driver.

 In short, establishing probable depends on the criminal case in question. This is why anyone accused of criminal acts should talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney about their case.

Need DUI Defense?

If you or a loved one need DUI defense for your arrest, the Law Office of Mark Garka is here to help. Our firm can review your arrest to determine if a cop had enough reason to use probable cause.

Call (888) 252-1961 now for a free consultation for your case.

About the Author

Mark Garka

Mark is a solo-practitioner who limits his practice to DUI Defense. During Law School, he worked in the Juvenile Division for the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney's Office and he also worked in the Corrections Division at the Attorney General's Office. After completing his degree, he clerked...


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