probable cause


Definition of probable cause

: a reasonable ground for supposing that a charge is well-founded

Examples of probable cause in a Sentence

The lawyer argued that there was a lack of probable cause for a search warrant. The police had probable cause to arrest him.
Recent Examples on the Web Mugisha is also a suspect in an armed robbery at another dispensary in Northeast Portland on Jan. 1, according to a probable cause affidavit. oregonlive, "20-year-old charged with December murder of N. Portland cannabis shop worker," 8 May 2021 Witnesses told police Oechsle came into the pub and sat down across from a group celebrating Smith's bachelor party, according to a preliminary probable cause affidavit. Rashika Jaipuriar, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis man convicted of murder after fatal November 2019 shooting at southside pub," 29 Apr. 2021 Police adopted new training methods and procedures to deliver warnings, establish individualized probable cause and provide for escape avenues after the Pershing Park settlement. Washington Post, "D.C. to pay $1.6 million to settle mass arrest lawsuits from 2017 Trump inauguration," 26 Apr. 2021 The original charges against Chauvin included third-degree murder, but Judge Cahill threw out that count in October, saying prosecutors could not show probable cause that Chauvin's actions put people other than Floyd at risk. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, "Here's how Derek Chauvin could try to get verdict overturned on appeal," 21 Apr. 2021 The preliminary hearing, during which van Rooyen will decide whether the prosecution has established probable cause to justify the charges in the case, is expected to take 12 full days of testimony, van Rooyen said. al, "Kristin Smart case: Father, son plead not guilty in 1996 California disappearance," 20 Apr. 2021 His arrest came from an investigation by a Rogers police officer, who was pretending to be a 13-year-old girl on Facebook, according to a probable cause affidavit. Tracy Neal, Arkansas Online, "Rogers man sentenced to 10 years for Internet stalking," 16 Apr. 2021 Natasia Snape, 28, was being held on suspicion of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and other crimes, according to a probable cause affidavit. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, "Woman claiming to be Harry Potter accused in hit-and-run death of federal judge," 12 Apr. 2021 Powers on Wednesday rejected that there was any evidence of alcohol, drug or prescription medication usage by Woods that would have provided probable cause to get a search warrant for Woods’ blood draws at the hospital. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "Tiger Woods was driving as fast as 87 mph, nearly twice the speed limit, before he crashed," 7 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'probable cause.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of probable cause

circa 1676, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for probable cause

Time Traveler

The first known use of probable cause was circa 1676

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Statistics for probable cause

Last Updated

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Probable cause.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for probable cause

probable cause


English Language Learners Definition of probable cause

chiefly US, law : evidence that gives someone a reason to think that a crime has been or is being committed

probable cause

Legal Definition of probable cause

— see cause sense 2

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