What is a motion to suppress and how can it impact a criminal case in Plano or anywhere else in Texas? For starters, a “motion to suppress” has to do with evidence.
When a criminal defense attorney files a motion to suppress evidence, it means the defense lawyer is asking the judge to exclude certain evidence against a defendant – to not consider it at trial.
A criminal lawyer will file a motion to suppress early on in the case, well before the case goes to trial. If the defense attorney is able to convince the judge to suppress the evidence, the judge or the prosecution may have insufficient evidence to proceed and therefore, either individual may decide to dismiss the case.
Motions to Suppress: Search & Seizure Violations
We see motions to suppress evidence most commonly in cases involving search and seizure violations, or in other words Fourth Amendment cases.
Motions to suppress are also filed in eyewitness cases (motions to suppress identifications), for example, when a defendant believes the identification procedure was completely unfair and the results should be excluded.
What Makes Evidence ‘Inadmissible’
When people are charged with crimes, sometimes there are doubts over how key evidence was collected. If it turns out that evidence was not collected properly, it can be thrown out before or during trial.
In this situation, the defendant’s guilt or innocence is not the issue, but the “admissibility” of the evidence collected by law enforcement is the real concern.
Essentially, if key evidence is collected illegally or if it’s inadmissible for another reason, a skilled criminal defense lawyer can ask the judge to suppress the evidence – and have it thrown out.
Under the “exclusionary rule,” the government is barred from considering any evidence that was collected illegally. For example, let’s say the police arrested a suspect in a murder trial.
The prosecutor couldn’t use a handgun (the murder weapon) at trial if the police recovered the gun from the suspect’s home without a search warrant. Under the circumstances, the cops needed a search warrant.
For the defense attorneys to get the handgun evidence thrown out, he or she must file a motion to suppress evidence with the court.
From there, the judge will decide if it’s appropriate to suppress the evidence and if so, the evidence will be thrown out; this move alone can turn the odds in the defendant’s favor.
We hope this information helps. If you are facing criminal charges in Plano or Dallas, contact our firm for a hard-hitting defense today!