If you’re facing serious criminal charges, then you need to be prepared to build an aggressive criminal defense. This certainly may mean gathering evidence and presenting arguments that demonstrate the prosecution has simply failed to meet its burden of proof, but in most instances you’re going to need more than that. That’s why it’s important that you know how to engage in proper jury selection, attack witness credibility, and make appropriate evidentiary objections.
Ways to have the evidence suppressed
One of the strongest ways to protect yourself in these cases is to try to suppress the prosecution’s evidence? How do you do that? There are many justifiable reasons for a motion to suppress, including each of the following:
- Illegally obtained evidence: You have a Constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. That’s why the police typically need a warrant before they can search your home, your car, or your person. There are, of course, exceptions to the warrant requirement, which law enforcement often rely on in order to gain access to incriminating evidence. But it’s far too common for the police to run afoul of the law when they utilize these exceptions. For example, in some situations police officers conduct traffic stops without the requisite reasonable suspicion, then end up searching a vehicle and discovering narcotics. Since the initial traffic stop was illegal, though, you may be able to successfully argue that the subsequently gathered evidence was tainted by illegality and therefore should be deemed inadmissible. This is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine.
- Chain of custody issues: In order for evidence to be admissible at trial, the prosecution has to a lay a sufficient foundation to show that the evidence is what it purports it to be. This is accomplished by showing a proper chain of custody, meaning that the evidence in question was gathered, transported, and maintained in accordance with acceptable practices. If there was an error somewhere along the way, then you may be able to raise doubt as to the reliability of the evidence, which could render it inadmissible against you.
- Noncompliant witnesses: Once you know who the prosecution intends to call as a witness, then you should subpoena those witnesses for depositions. This is oftentimes the only way to learn what these witnesses know and how they’ll testify at trial. However, if these witnesses fail to show up for scheduled depositions despite being subpoenaed for them and without good justification, then you can argue that it would be unfair for the prosecution to use those witnesses against you. A judge may agree with you and find that the evidence is inadmissible.
Evidence suppression is just one option for your criminal defense
Evidence suppression is an extremely powerful criminal defense tool. But it may not be available in every case. And in those cases where it is an option, you have to make sure that you’re presenting the proper arguments to support your position.
But you shouldn’t hang your hat on being able to suppress the prosecution’s evidence. Instead, you need to take a holistic look at your case to determine your best course of action, which may include deploying multiple criminal defense tactics.
With so much on the line, too, you shouldn’t leave your case in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. Instead, you should work with someone who is experienced in criminal defense matters and has a track record of successfully defending those who have been accused of criminal wrongdoing.