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Morgan County Criminal Defense Attorneys

Unmatched Legal Defenders in WV

The Criminal Law Center is fully dedicated to providing criminal defense counsel in West Virginia. Our team has over six decades of combined experience defending cases in and outside of the courtroom. We not only investigate our clients’ cases thoroughly, but we also keep our clients informed of their rights and options from arrest to trial. 

If you have been accused of a crime, contact our Morgan County criminal defense lawyers by calling (304) 262-9300.

Why Are People Arrested?

In criminal law, two terms frequently arise that are often misunderstood: probable cause and reasonable suspicion. These two concepts are cornerstones of our justice system, guiding law enforcement officers' interactions with the public and setting boundaries for their actions. Understanding the difference between these two terms is crucial to understanding your rights and how the legal system works.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

Reasonable suspicion refers to a legal standard of proof in United States law that is less than probable cause, the legal standard for arrests and warrants. It is the level of suspicion that would justify an officer making further inquiries or conducting a more extensive investigation.

What is Probable Cause?

Probable cause, on the other hand, is a more stringent requirement. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stipulates that "no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause." This means that before a warrant for arrest, search, or seizure can occur, reasonable suspicion must be supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person's belief that specific facts are probably true.

Unlike reasonable suspicion, probable cause requires specific, articulable facts and more than mere suspicion. It is a higher level of certainty that a crime has been committed or that evidence of a crime may be found in a particular location.

Probable Cause vs. Reasonable Suspicion

While both probable cause and reasonable suspicion require some degree of doubt, the key difference lies in the level of certainty. Reasonable suspicion is sufficient for a stop and frisk, while probable cause is necessary for an arrest or to obtain a search or arrest warrant.

It is important to note that both standards are subjective. They rely heavily on the perspective and judgment of the individual officer, which can lead to controversy and debate.


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Protect Your Future

If you have been accused of a crime, having an attorney by your side is crucial. The complexities of a criminal case can be difficult to navigate without legal training, and the consequences of misunderstanding these concepts can be severe.

Our experienced attorneys at The Criminal Law Center can help protect your rights, challenge any unlawful searches or arrests, and ensure you are treated fairly under the law. They can scrutinize the actions of law enforcement, contesting whether they had reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to arrest or search you.

Our attorneys can guide you through the legal process, offering advice and representation to help you achieve the most optimal outcome. Contact our Morgan County criminal defense attorneys today for more information.


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