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Grounds for Suppressing Evidence in a Criminal Case

Suppression of evidence is a fancy way of saying the evidence can’t be used in court. In order to suppress evidence, the criminal defense lawyer must file a formal motion to exclude the evidence. The motion can be filed in federal or state court depending on where the case is being tried.

The motion to suppress is heard by the judge who decides the case. A hearing is normally held, unless the case can be decided on legal issues alone, to determine whether the evidence is relevant to your case and whether it was properly obtained.

Failure to comply with your Fourth Amendment Rights

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that a person, the person’s home, and their papers and affects, can’t be searched without a warrant. Warrants should only be granted if the police have probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is located within the area of the desired search. The Supreme Court’s Exclusionary Rule requires that evidence that was seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment be excluded from any trial.

The Supreme Court has crafted several exceptions to when searches and seizures can take place without a warrant. For example, many warrantless searches during car stops are valid if the police have probably cause to conduct the search. Criminal defense lawyers will argue the exceptions don’t apply. In most cases, it is not difficult to obtain a warrant, and police should follow this simple procedure. Warrants themselves can be attacked in a suppression hearing if they weren’t supported by an oath or affirmation.

Failure to comply with your Fifth Amendment Rights

The U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment requires that the accused are not obligated to incriminate themselves. If a defendant gives an unauthorized confession or makes an involuntary statement against his/her interest, the admissibility of the confession or statement should be challenged in the suppression hearing. A Motion to Suppress is standard procedure when a police officer fails to read the Miranda warnings to any suspect.

Failure to follow the chain of custody requirements

Once the police seize evidence (such as fingerprints, drugs, or the results of a breath test), they are required to account for the location and security of that evidence from the time of seizure to the time of the suppression hearing. Evidence should be properly tagged and secured. Otherwise, it is not reliable.

Other reasons to suppress evidence may apply depending on the type of evidence and how the evidence was obtained.

When police and the government fail to honor your rights and to collect and preserve evidence properly, it is only fair and just the evidence be excluded from your trial. The experienced Manchester criminal defense lawyers of Barry & Barall, LLC, fight to make sure defendants are treated fairly and justly. For help with any criminal charge, call us at 860-649-4400 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve Hartford, Manchester, and the surrounding areas