Are you worried about the ramifications of the criminal charges that have been levied against you? It’s OK if you are. After all, the consequences of a criminal conviction can be severe, leaving you facing jail or prison time, excessive fines, damage to your reputation, a suspended driver’s license, a suspended or revoked professional licenses, and a haunting criminal record that may make it difficult for you to secure employment and housing in the future.
We don’t say that to scare you, but rather to stress the importance of building a strong criminal defense case. You have to know the various strategies that are available to you and how best to exploit them to your advantage if you want the strong defense that you need. One tactic that may help you beat your charges is evidence suppression.
What is evidence suppression?
Evidence suppression is the process whereby you ask the court to deny prosecutors the ability to use certain evidence against you. This evidence is usually extremely unfair or was obtained illegally, but the burden is on you to prove that the evidence should be suppressed. This means that you’ll need to file a motion to suppress with the court and present strong evidence at a hearing on that motion.
What circumstances justify evidence suppression?
Believe it or not, there are quite a few situations that can lead to evidence suppression. Here are just some of them:
- An illegal traffic stop: To lawfully stop a vehicle, law enforcement officers have to have reasonable suspicion that a crime or infraction has occurred. If the pretext for the stop fails to meet that burden, then it’s illegal and anything that happens after that point will be considered tainted by that illegality, even the search of you and your vehicle. Therefore, if your charges are based on drugs or other illegal items that were seized only after an illegal traffic stop, then there’s a good chance that you can successfully suppress that evidence.
- Chain of custody errors: The police are required to handle evidence in a certain way to ensure that it hasn’t been tainted. If you can point to errors in this process, then you may be able to suppress that evidence.
- Witness testimony: In some circumstances, you may be to able to suppress a witness’s testimony. While you may have some success arguing that the testimony is unfairly prejudicial, you might also be able to prohibit a witness from testifying if he or she was subpoenaed for a deposition and failed to appear. This is because you are entitled to a fair trial, and the prosecution shouldn’t be able to use evidence against you that you haven’t had the opportunity to vet for yourself.
Remember that these are just some of the ways that you may be able to suppress evidence. Depending on the facts of your case, you may have many more options available to you.
A skilled advocate can help you protect your interests and your future
With so much on the line in your criminal case, you owe it to yourself to build the best criminal defense possible under the circumstances. But navigating the criminal law system can be confusing and overwhelming. Yet, if you don’t know the process, then you could miss out on key opportunities that may be crucial to your case. That’s why if you’re facing criminal charges, then now may be the time to discuss your circumstances with a zealous advocate who can help you fight for the outcome that is best for you.