Probable Cause Affidavit
Probable Cause Affidavit
Q: What is a Probable Cause Affidavit (PC Affidavit)?
A: A PC affidavit, written by the arresting officer, is a summary of the evidence against a defendant, or more precisely, the officer's opinion about the evidence. It is a requirement under the Fourth Amendment to justify an arrest.
Q: How Quickly Must a Probable Cause Affidavit be Submitted?
A: In misdemeanor cases, the arresting officer has 24 hours to submit the PC affidavit. For felony cases, the timeframe is 48 hours.
Q: What Does a Judge Do with the Probable Cause Affidavit?
A: A judge reviews the PC affidavit to ensure there are legitimate reasons for the arrest, as part of the necessary oversight of police activity under the Fourth Amendment.
Q: Is the Probable Cause Affidavit Public Record?
A: Yes, it is public record and can be obtained from the county clerk's office.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Probable Cause Affidavit and an Offense Report?
A: The PC affidavit contains the main allegations against the defendant and is available shortly after the arrest. The offense report, which is more detailed, is usually not available until a couple of months later.
Q: What Specific Information Does a DWI Probable Cause Affidavit Include?
A: For DWI cases, the PC affidavit includes breath test results (if applicable), the reason for the traffic stop, and basic circumstances surrounding the arrest. It does not include blood test results as they are not immediately available.
Q: How is the Bond Determined from a Probable Cause Affidavit?
A: After reviewing the PC affidavit, a judge sets the bond amount and any additional requirements, such as an ignition interlock device in DWI cases.
Q: Do Prosecutors Rely on the Probable Cause Affidavit?
A: No, after the initial review by a magistrate judge, the PC affidavit is not typically referred to again. Prosecutors will review the more detailed offense report and any arrest videos, especially in DWI cases.
Q: Can I Obtain a Copy of My Probable Cause Affidavit?
A: Yes, you can request a copy of your PC affidavit by contacting the law firm through their website, providing your full name and date of birth. This is a free service offered, and there is no obligation to hire the firm.
Q: Is It Common for Probable Cause Affidavits to Exaggerate Facts?
A: Many clients believe that the PC affidavit exaggerates the facts. However, since it is not heavily relied upon after the initial review, the more detailed offense report and video evidence are more critical for case evaluation.