What is a Motion to Suppress Evidence in a Criminal Case?

Lawyer holding document and speaking to jury in courtroom

Many criminal cases are won or lost before the defendant even sets foot in the courtroom. To prove a defendant guilty, the prosecutor must establish every element of the charge, beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can improve a defendant’s likelihood of success by filing a pretrial motion, called a Motion to Suppress Evidence, that seeks to have evidence excluded from consideration at trial. Without crucial evidence, the prosecutor will have a more difficult time proving their case, which can pave the way for plea negotiations, a significant reduction in the penalties a defendant may face, or even dismissal of the charges.

When you work with The Lebedevitch Law Firm, LLC, we will carefully analyze the prosecutor’s evidence and can file a Motion to Suppress Evidence seeking to have evidence excluded from trial.

What Is a Motion to Suppress Evidence?

A Motion to Suppress Evidence is a pretrial motion that asks the judge to exclude certain evidence from being presented at trial. A Motion to Suppress Evidence can be filed on constitutional grounds, claiming evidence was improperly obtained, or based on the Rules of Evidence.

What Are Common Reasons for Filing a Motion to Suppress Evidence?

Someone accused of a crime should raise every possible defense and take every helpful step they can to reduce the likelihood of a conviction. One way to do this is by filing a Motion to Suppress Evidence. When you work with Connecticut criminal defense attorney Stephen Lebedevitch, he will analyze your situation to identify potential grounds for filing a Motion to Suppress Evidence.

The Exclusionary Rule

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits unlawful searches and seizures. Under the Exclusionary Rule, police must have a valid search warrant or probable cause to believe a suspect committed a crime in order to stop them and search for evidence. Evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment cannot be considered at trial. To raise a constitutional violation, a criminal defense attorney can file a Motion to Suppress Evidence, asking to have evidence excluded on constitutional grounds.

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

Similar to the Exclusionary Rule, evidence that would otherwise be admissible at trial cannot be considered if it was obtained by violating a suspect’s constitutional rights. For example, if a suspect was arrested and confessed to committing a crime but the court determines the arrest was illegal, evidence obtained from questioning the suspect while in custody cannot be considered because it is “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

No Miranda Warning

When police arrest a suspect and take them into custody, they are required to inform the suspect of their Miranda rights. If the police fail to provide Miranda warnings, statements made or evidence collected because of information police obtained from the suspect while in custody should be excluded from consideration at trial.

Chain of Custody Errors

The “chain of custody” refers to procedures the police must follow when handling evidence. To prove chain of custody, the prosecutor must establish that the evidence is what they claim it to be, that it was continuously in their possession from the time it was seized until it is presented in court, and that it remained in substantially the same condition each time it was transferred. If the chain is broken, the evidence might not be admissible.

How to File a Motion to Suppress Evidence

A Motion to Suppress Evidence often addresses complex and technical elements of the law, including alleged constitutional violations and the Rules of Evidence. After a careful analysis of the circumstances of your case, your criminal defense lawyer may file a Motion to Suppress Evidence. The judge will schedule a hearing on the Motion where your lawyer can question witnesses and present evidence of his own as to why the prosecution’s evidence should not be allowed to be presented at trial.

The judge will evaluate arguments from your lawyer and the prosecutor and decide whether or not to admit the evidence. If the judge grants your lawyer’s Motion, the evidence cannot be presented at trial. If the judge denies your lawyer’s Motion, the evidence can be presented at trial.

Charged with a Crime? Contact The Lebedevitch Law Firm LLC.

A Motion to Suppress Evidence is just one part of your overall legal defense strategy. If you were charged with a crime, you need a criminal defense lawyer who will carefully analyze the charges against you, help you evaluate your options, and prepare a vigorous defense to obtain the optimal result in your case.

The Lebedevitch Law Firm is based in Fairfield, Connecticut, and represents people accused of crimes in Fairfield and New Haven Counties. To put our experience to work for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.

Categories: Criminal Defense