Brief Fact Summary. Pringle appealed a conviction, based on lack of probable cause, when he was arrested for paraphernalia found in the back of another person’s a car, while sitting in the front.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. When a reasonable officer can conclude that a defendant is guilty, probable cause exists.
The quantity of drugs and cash in the car indicated the likelihood of drug dealing, an enterprise to which a dealer would be unlikely to admit an innocent person with the potential to furnish evidence against him.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the arrest of a front-seat passenger in a car driven by its owner lacks probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment when the basis for the arrest is paraphernalia found in the back of the car.
Held. When finding contraband in an automobile, there is probable cause to arrest its occupants, regardless of their proximity from the contraband.
Discussion. There is no violation of the Fourth Amendment ban against unreasonable searches and seizures when a reasonable officer can conclude probable cause in his arrest.