Reasons for probable cause in criminal matters

In Maryland, as well as nationwide, citizens are protected from arrest and search and seizure without probable cause in most instances. This is guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Probable cause means that law enforcement must have legitimate reasons to suspect that any criminal activity is involved.

A warrant is obtained after the police officer provides a detailed account of why he or she believes that criminal activity is taking place. If the officer believes drug-related activity is being conducted from an establishment, for example, a warrant may be agreed to by the judge. This allows the establishment to be searched and, if drug charges are warranted, individuals may be taken into custody. In addition, if contraband is found, it may be seized.

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