No Probable Cause

Last updated: September 26, 2017

What Does No Probable Cause Mean?

No probable cause is a legal designation meaning that there was insufficient evidence to support a claim or cause of action. In criminal proceedings, probable cause is required for a search warrant to be obtained or an arrest made. A finding of no probable cause means that this necessary standard of proof has not been met.


WorkplaceTesting Explains No Probable Cause

When conducting pre-employment background checks, a prospective employee's arrest records may be considered. In some cases, a background check may reveal that the prospective employee was arrested, but the arrest was later vacated by a judge due to "no probable cause."

An arresting officer must have sufficient factual knowledge to reasonably believe that a crime has been committed to support a finding of probable cause. A subsequent court decision finding no probable cause may mean that a judge determined that the facts upon which an officer relied were insufficient or that the initial arrest was not based on a reasonable belief that a crime had been committed.

In the workplace, an employer usually must have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to single out a specific employee or group of employees for drug or alcohol testing outside of scheduled random testing. Targeting individual employees for testing when there is no probable cause may lead to charges of discrimination. Most states do not require probable cause for an employer to conduct pre-employment or random drug or alcohol testing.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


Background ChecksDrug TestingFit for Work TestingAlcohol TestingUrine TestingOral Fluid TestingPre-work EvaluationsEmploymentLegal

Trending Articles

Go back to top