1. Criminal law. A reasonable ground to suspect that a person has committed or is committing a crime or that a place contains specific items connected with a crime. * Under the Fourth Amendment, probable cause — which amounts to more than a bare suspicion but less than evidence that would justify a conviction — must be shown before an arrest warrant or search warrant may be issued. — aka reasonable cause; sufficient cause; reasonable grounds; reasonable excuse. Cf. reasonable suspicion under SUSPICION.
2. Torts. A reasonable belief in the existence of facts on which a claim is based and in the legal validity of the claim itself. * In this sense, probable cause is usually assessed as of the time when the claimant brings the claim (as by filing suit).
3. A reasonable basis to support issuance of an administrative warrant based on either
(1) specific evidence of an existing violation of administrative rules, or
(2) evidence showing that a particular business meets the legislative or administrative standards permitting an inspection of the business premises. 
1. Reasonable cause as shown by the circumstances of the case. Goldstien v Sabella (Fla) 88 So 2d 910, 58 ALR2d 1418. 
1. A reasonable amount of suspicions, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious peron’s belief that certain facts are probably true. A judge may not issue a search warrant unless she is shown probable cause to believe there is evidence of crime on the premises. A police officer may not make an arrest without a warrant unless he has reasonable cause, based upon reliable information, to believe a crime has been or is being committed.
See reasonable belief; reasonable cause. 
Excerpt from Wayne R. LaFave & Jerold H. Israel’s Criminal Procedure (2d ed. 1992):
“Probable cause may not be established simply by showing that the officer who made the challenged arrest or search subjectively believed he had grounds for his action. As emphasized in Beck v. Ohio [379 U.S. 89, 85 S.Ct. 223 (1964)]: ‘If subjective good faith alone were the test, the protection of the Fourth Amendment would evaporate, and the people would be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” only in the discretion of the police.’ The probable cause test, then, is an objective one; for there to be probable cause, the facts must be such as would warrant a belief by a reasonable man.” 
probable cause for a prosecution – A reasonable ground for suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious, or as some courts put it, a prudent man, in believing that the party charged is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. The existence of such facts and circumstances as would excite belief in a reasonable mind, acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor, that the person charged is guilty of the offense for which he is prosecuted. Such facts and circumstances as, when communicated to the generality of men of ordinary and impartial minds, are sufficient to raise in them a belief or real, grave suspicion of the guilt of the person charged. 34 Am J1st Mal Pros § 47.
probable cause for arrest – A reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man in believing the accused to be guilty. In substance, a reasonable ground for belief in guilt. Brinegar v United States, 338 US 160, 93 L Ed 1879, 69 S Ct 1302, reh den 338 US 839, 94 L Ed 513, 70 S Ct 31.
probable cause for attachment – A reasonable belief in the existence of facts necessary to sustain an attachment. The actual existence of facts necessary to sustain an attachment. 6 Am J2d Attach § 599.
probable cause for capture – The existence of circumstances such as to warrant a reasonable ground of suspicion that the vessel is engaged in an illegal traflic. 56 Am J1st War § 198.
probable cause for issuance of a search warrant – A reasonable ground of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a prudent and cautious man in the belief that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. 47 Am J1st Search § 22.
probable cause for statement otherwise tortious as defamatory – A reasonable ground of suspicion. supported by circumstances sufficient to warrant a cautious man in believing in the truth of the statement pleaded as the basis of a cause of action for defamation. Coates v Wallace, 4 Pa Super 253, 257.
probable cause to hold accused for trial – Reasonable ground to believe that a crime has been committed and just cause to believe that the defendant committed it. State ex rel. Stevenson v Jameson, 78 SD 431, 104 NW2d 45. 
Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.
: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6
: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949). Edited by William S. Anderson. © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931
: Wayne R. LaFave & Jerold H. Israel, Criminal Procedure 9 3.3, at 140 (2d ed. 1992).
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