Just because you think the prosecution has substantial evidence against you does not automatically spell trouble. This is because not all of the evidence may be admissible in court. In other words, you can exclude specific pieces of evidence from being used against you in a trial – through evidence suppression. Here is how it works.
The process of excluding evidence begins with a motion to suppress filed by the defense team. This motion is a formal request to the court to suppress or remove specific evidence from your case for various legal reasons.
The court then reviews the motion and may hold a hearing to evaluate the merits of the defense’s argument. During the hearing, both the defense and the prosecution present their respective cases, with the defense providing evidence and legal arguments for why the evidence in question should be suppressed.
Common reasons why the court may suppress evidence
Courts may suppress evidence from trial for various reasons. The primary goal is to ensure a fair and just legal process. Some common reasons for suppressing evidence include:
- Evidence obtained through an illegal search and seizure.
- Evidence obtained in violation of your right against self-incrimination, such as forced confessions or statements made without a Miranda warning prior to custodial interrogation.
- If there are doubts about the authenticity or integrity of the evidence against you due to mistakes by law enforcement, commonly referred to as chain of custody errors.
The court may suppress evidence for a host of other reasons, depending on the prevailing circumstances. Either way, it can be a game-changer for your criminal case.
The potential outcome of suppressing evidence
Evidence suppression may weaken the prosecution’s case and can give the defense greater negotiating leverage. However, it all comes down to the weight of the evidence being suppressed and its significance.
To understand how evidence suppression might impact your case and navigate the complex legal process, promptly seek legal guidance. It can provide you with valuable insights, protect your interests and help you make informed decisions.