Santa Barbara, CA asked in Criminal Law for California

Q: Does probable cause for arrest exist based on statements only?

A police officer is talking to a man on the street. The encounter is consensual. The officer asks if the man has any drugs in his possession. The man states he has heroin in his pocket. The officer asks for consent to retrieve the heroin. The man says, no. Does the officer have sufficient probable cause to arrest for possession of narcotics (which would allow a search incident to arrest)?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Matthew Lee Spiegel
Matthew Lee Spiegel
  • San Diego, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I would say yes, the officer has probable cause to arrest. In order to arrest someone, the officer needs to have reasonable suspicion that a crime is or has been committed. By the man telling him he has illegal drugs on him, the officer would certainly have a suspicion that a crime is being committed in his presence.

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