Probable Cause Affidavit for Arrest in Florida Sex Crimes
A couple was recently arrested for sex crimes in Florida after the teen victim alerted authorities to ongoing incidents of abuse, according to a report published by Tampa Bay’s ABC Action News. Police opened the investigation in June after the girl called police, and charges were filed against the man and his wife based upon a probable cause affidavit that outlined the gruesome details. The case raises issues related to probable cause and how filing a sworn statement can lead a judge to order an arrest. Florida criminal defense attorneys are often successful in presenting probable cause arguments to gain leverage in a case, which are grounded in a defendant’s civil rights.
Probable Cause for Arrest in General
This legal concept is based on the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, which provides that no warrant for arrest or seizure of property can be issued without probable cause. In other words, police must have an adequate reason for making an arrest, conducting a search, or taking property from someone. The same requirement applies to prosecuting attorneys, who must have probable cause to charge someone with a crime.
The issue of probable cause is straightforward when police witness a crime taking place: Actually seeing a person committing a crime leaves little question that there is sufficient reason to make the arrest. However, probable cause is more complicated when authorities do not actually witness a crime, and this is where an affidavit becomes important.
How a Probable Cause Affidavit Works
In a case where police did not witness a crime, but have a strong belief that one has occurred, a probable cause affidavit may be used to support a warrant – whether for an arrest, for a search, or for seizure of property. An officer can prepare and sign the affidavit, which is a statement of the facts known to him or her, sworn under oath. The affidavit will outline the details as to why probable cause exists to obtain the warrant.
Issuance of Arrest or Search Warrant
The probable cause affidavit is usually presented to a judge, who will review the statements of fact and determine whether the details are sufficient for a warrant to:
- Make an arrest;
- Conduct a search of the person or property of the alleged offender; or,
- Seize property belonging to the alleged offender.
If the judge issues the warrant, police will take the appropriate action. Still, the person who is the subject of the warrant can still contest the facts stated in the probable cause affidavit. If successful, then probable cause does not exist and the case may be dismissed.
An Experienced Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights
Establishing probable cause is essential for making an arrest in a criminal matter, so you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to attack any factual weaknesses in an affidavit. A lawyer will present a strong defense, that can help you obtain the best possible outcome in court. Fort Lauderdale lawyer Kevin J. Kulik has extensive experience in all aspects of criminal defense, and will aggressively fight for your rights. Please contact our office today for a confidential consultation.