totality of the circumstances test - Legal Definition
A test originally formulated to evaluate whether a defendant’s constitutional rights were violated in the eliciting of a confession. It concentrates on looking at all the circumstances surrounding the alleged violation rather than only one or two aspects, as had been the case before. It had been used as a measure of whether a defendant’s privilege against self incrimination had been violated, but since the advent of the Miranda rule (1966), that use has become obsolete. It is now used to determine whether a defendant consented to a warrantless search, and whether probable cause exists for the issuing of a search warrant.