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When can a police officer make an arrest?

The general criteria for making an arrest is what is referred to as probable cause. Probable cause arises when there is sufficient evidence to cause a reasonable person to believe that the accused probably committed the crime in question. The key word is prob­able. That is, the accused is more likely than not to hove commit­ted the crime in question.

The police may rely upon a variety of different sources of information to arrive at probable cause. For instance, a police investigator who relies upon an informant that has been used in the past regarding drug activities may determine that there is probable cause that narcotics are being sold at a particular location. That may justify not only the issuance of a search war­rant for those premises, but also the arrest of the persons inside the premises if narcotics are found.

Probable cause may also be founded upon police surveillance, wherein the police have actu­ally seen suspicious activities going on at a particular location. Many things may justify the issuance of a warrant and a search of the premises.

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