If I am suspected of committing a federal crime in Northern Virginia, what kind of information or evidence would the FBI consider “probable cause”?

Most sources of probable cause fall into one of four categories:

Observation. Included in this category is any information that an investigating officer obtains through his or her senses, such as sight, smell, or hearing. Also included is the officer’s recognition of a familiar pattern of criminal activity, such as a car circling the neighborhood, someone looking around furtively while examining a vehicle in a parking lot, or someone hanging around the door of a store after closing time.

Expertise. These are skills that police officers and federal investigators have acquired through training or experience, such as recognizing burglary tools, being able to read gang graffiti, and knowing the signs that a driver may be under the influence.

Information. Statements made by witnesses, informants’ tips, and information provided through police bulletins fall into this category.

Circumstantial Evidence. Anything that constitutes indirect evidence implying—but not proving—that a crime has been committed is circumstantial evidence.

Some sources of probable cause require supporting evidence from another source, but other sources are deemed reliable enough to justify probable cause by themselves.

If you are charged with a federal crime in Fairfax, law enforcement officers must show probable cause before searching or arresting you; otherwise, whatever evidence they gather is inadmissible in court.

As soon as police or the FBI have contacted you, call the federal criminal defense attorneys at the Taylor Law Company. We’ll make sure that everyone has followed the rules—or, if they haven’t, we’ll get that evidence excluded from your trial. Call us at 703-385-5529, and set up a FREE, immediate, no-obligation consultation.

Gretchen L. Taylor
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