Evidence forms a crucial part of any criminal trial. It helps in establishing the facts of the case, which goes a long way in determining the final verdict. However, not all evidence can be used against you in court, no matter the nature of your charges.
A judge can exclude some of the prosecution’s evidence against you for various reasons. This follows a successful motion to suppress, usually filed by the defendant, to request the exclusion of certain evidence from trial.
Reasons for suppressing evidence
Generally put, the court can suppress evidence acquired unlawfully or in violation of your constitutional rights. Evidence that is unreliable and irrelevant may also be excluded from the trial.
For instance, the court can suppress evidence obtained through an illegal search by law enforcement officials. The constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the police must follow due process before conducting such searches. Similarly, an involuntary confession may not make it to trial as evidence against you.
Chain of custody errors can also lead to the suppression of evidence. If evidence is flawed or contaminated while under police custody due to mistakes while handling, storing or processing, a judge may decide to exclude it from trial
How a motion to suppress works
Before filing a motion to suppress, you need a thorough evaluation of the legality and admissibility of all the evidence the prosecution has against you. Something as minor as an unlawful traffic stop or a warrantless search can have far-reaching consequences on your case.
Therefore, it helps to have expert legal guidance in your corner to help build your defense and protect your legal rights. Evidence suppression can be just what you need for a desirable outcome of the charges against you.