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Suppressing evidence in a criminal trial: What you need to know

On Behalf of | May 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense

The crucial role of evidence in criminal charges cannot be ignored. It serves as the foundation for the prosecution’s case against the accused and can heavily influence the court’s verdict.

However, for evidence to be presented during the trial, it must be admissible in court. In other words, it must be competent, relevant and material to the case, in line with the rules of evidence. Inadmissible evidence may be suppressed or excluded from a trial, which can have far-reaching implications for your criminal case.

How is evidence suppressed?

The process of legally suppressing evidence begins with a motion to suppress filed by the defense before the trial. The motion requests the judge to exclude all or some of the prosecution’s evidence against you from the trial on legal grounds.

Some of the grounds on which a judge may grant a motion to suppress include the following:

  • Evidence obtained illegally or in violation of your constitutional rights — An unlawful search and seizure is one such example since it violates your Fourth Amendment rights.
  • Mistakes by law enforcement when handling evidence in their possession — This can happen if the evidence is tampered with or lost while in the custody of law enforcement.
  • Failure to inform you or your legal rights before interrogation when you are arrested.

It is worth noting that a successful motion to suppress does not mean that the charge against you will be dropped. Instead, it’s a means to an end in achieving a desirable verdict.

The potential consequences of suppressing evidence

When evidence is suppressed, it’s like removing a piece from a puzzle. The picture will never be complete. As such, the prosecution may have difficulty proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It could result in an acquittal or reduction of your charges. Evidence suppression can also help during plea deal negotiations since the prosecution’s case may not be as strong as it was.

Are you facing criminal charges?

Suppressing evidence can be an effective defense strategy if you face criminal charges. However, it is easier said than done. The legal technicalities can be overwhelming if you are not well-versed in the law.

As such, it’s best to seek experienced representation to help navigate the complexities of the justice system and build a defense tailored to the specific circumstances of your case.