In a criminal case such as a drug trial, evidence against the defendant plays a key role in convicting that person of the crime they are charged with. When evidence presented by the prosecution is questionable, criminal defense lawyers can make a motion to suppress this evidence. The motion to suppress evidence is a valuable strategy that can be used by criminal defense attorneys to avoid conviction when there are concerns about how evidence was gathered and if it should be permitted.
What Is A Motion to Suppress Evidence?
A motion to suppress evidence against a defendant essentially asks the court to examine evidence more closely, especially how that evidence was collected. Evidence gathered against a defendant through illegal search and seizure methods can be thrown out from the case if questioned. In order to have this evidence further examined to determine whether it was illegally obtained, criminal defense attorneys must first make a motion to suppress the evidence.
Admissibility of Evidence and the Exclusionary Rule
The Exclusionary Rule states that in order for most evidence to be admissible in court, it must be obtained through legal search and seizure methods. Evidence found to be gathered illegally cannot be used against a defendant in court because law enforcement did not follow legal procedure in acquiring such evidence. The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects every U.S. citizen against unlawful search and seizure, outlining the legal procedure that must be followed in order for law enforcement to gather evidence that is admissible in court. This relates to physical evidence, testimony, and confessions if it was gathered as a result of an illegal search.
Reasons Evidence May Be Suppressed
When criminal defense lawyers make a motion to suppress evidence, it is because they recognize one or more violations of the defendant’s Constitutional rights. The court may suppress evidence for various reasons. Some of the more common reasons are when a defendant is not read his or her Miranda Rights, unlawful search and seizure, “chain of custody” errors, and other documentation errors made by law enforcement when gathering evidence to present in court.
It is important to note that there are instances when a motion to suppress evidence may not be granted even if it seems that law enforcement acted outside of the law. These include when an officer testifies that he or she acted in “good faith” and believed they were acting within the law, in cases of inevitable discovery when the judge believes evidence would eventually have been discovered anyway, and if another source independent of the illegal search and seizure discloses the evidence anyway. So, while a motion made by criminal defense attorneys to suppress evidence can be very helpful in some instances, in others it may not help at all.
The critical factor regarding the suppression of evidence is working with criminal defense lawyers that have a thorough understanding of search and seizure law and can identify when evidence has been illegally obtained. Criminal defense attorneys who recognize when a defendant’s rights have been violated and evidence should be questioned, are essential to the most positive outcome for the defendant. Anyone facing any type of criminal charges should always work with experienced criminal defense lawyers who can analyze the evidence brought against the defendant and if necessary, make a motion to suppress evidence.
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680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
1393 East Alton Gloor Blvd, Suite
Brownsville TX 78526