Definition of probable cause in English:

probable cause


mass nounNorth American
  • Reasonable grounds to believe that a particular person has committed a crime, especially to justify making a search or preferring a charge.

    ‘warrants allow police to detain people, but not handcuff and search them without probable cause’
    • ‘They have probable cause to believe a crime has occurred and that he has committed it.’
    • ‘If traces of illegal drugs are found, the police can then use this evidence as support for probable cause to search the house.’
    • ‘Ordinarily in criminal cases, a search warrant based on probable cause to suspect illegal activity is required.’
    • ‘The police may generally search your car if they have probable cause to believe that the car contains evidence of a crime.’
    • ‘The test for reasonable and probable cause in a malicious prosecution case is the same as that in a claim based on false arrest or imprisonment.’