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How police mistakes can “poison” evidence 

On Behalf of | May 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to consider how the police may have gathered evidence in your case. There are some instances in which they may have made mistakes. These can have a major impact on how the evidence is used in your case or if it can even be used at all.

One example of how this works is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree. What does it mean to poison evidence, and why is this so important?

Illegally gathered evidence can’t be used.

The evidence itself may be incriminating, but it often can’t be used in court if it was illegally gathered by the police. That evidence is considered the “fruit,” and it has been “poisoned” by the previous actions.

For example, perhaps there was evidence of criminal activity in your home. The police came to your home and asked for consent to look around. They did not have a search warrant, and there clearly wasn’t an emergency. You knew that the evidence was in your house, so you didn’t give them consent.

However, the police forced their way inside anyway, found the evidence and arrested you. This is an illegal search and a violation of your rights under the fourth amendment. That may mean that the evidence they took from your house has to be thrown out of the case. If that was the only evidence the police even had against you, you can imagine how much that changes your situation.

Exploring your options

Do you believe that the police may have made mistakes or violated your rights in a significant way? If so, take the time to look into all of your legal defense options.