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

Civil forfeiture Prosecuting attorneys will now have to file an affidavit of probable cause within seven days of seizing property. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "Gas tax hike, sex ed and eyeball tattooing: here are the new laws taking effect July 1," 29 June 2018 What’s left is then sent to a police officer to determine probable cause. Wire Reports,, "Red-light cameras can stay, Florida Supreme Court rules," 3 May 2018 When questioned by authorities after Friday’s fatal crash a state highway near Heber, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of Park City, McKenzie denied drinking alcohol and refused a blood alcohol test, according to a probable cause statement. Brady Mccombs, The Seattle Times, "5 of the 6 killed in Utah highway crash were from Honduras," 22 Oct. 2018 This means the jurors did not find probable cause to indict Conley with any crime. Michael Mccann,, "Could Gareon Conley Legally Prove That Rape Allegation Caused Draft Slide, Financial Harm?," 12 July 2018 Investigators concluded there was no probable cause to show that Mr. Mylett committed any crime. Sara Jean Green, The Seattle Times, "Bellevue police chief cleared of wrongdoing after allegations led to criminal probe," 22 Oct. 2018 Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance set a trial date of April 1 after finding that there is probable cause for the criminal case to proceed against Mohamed Noor. Steve Karnowski, Fox News, "Ex-Minneapolis cop to go on trial April 1 in woman's death," 27 Sep. 2018 Genesee District Judge David Goggins determined that there was probable cause that Lyon committed involuntary manslaughter against Robert Skidmore and John Snyder in 2015. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Flint water crisis: Michigan health director ordered to manslaughter trial," 21 Aug. 2018 The House Justice Committee said in March that there was probable cause to impeach Sereno, accusing her of corruption, breach of public trust and other serious crimes. Washington Post, "Philippine Supreme Court upholds expulsion of chief justice," 19 June 2018

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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Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for probable cause

The first known use of probable cause was circa 1676

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More Definitions for probable cause

probable cause


English Language Learners Definition of probable cause

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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means, resources, or money

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