What constitutes probble cause for a search?

I went up to visit some friend’s at college. We were driving around for a while then decided to head back to my friend’s dorm. As we pulled into the parking lot I got pulled over. They said my licence plate wasn’t lit and said I was driving on the wrong side of the road when I pulled into the parking lot, which I was not. They then proceeded to search all of us and my car. I did not get charged with anything but one of my friends got a ticket for possession of marijuana. Is that legal since the cop did not have a probable cause to search us in the first place?

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Criminal Law, Connecticut


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country "probable cause" is defined under case law as whether or not a reasonable person would have believed a criminal act happened under given circumstances of a particular matter.

Under the facts of your matter, there was probable cause to stop your car because your license plate was not lit and you were on the wrong side of the road. Given such, it appears that there was probable cause for your vehicle's stop and the search of your friend.

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