Motions To Suppress
A motion to suppress evidence is not applicable to every criminal charge, and is somewhat uncommon. It is a motion that the Defendant may file when law enforcement or police obtain evidence illegally. Police are not above the law and they have procedures that they have to follow in order to obtain evidence. If those procedures are not followed, a motion to suppress should be filed.
When the police do not obtain a search warrant, or otherwise illegally search a person or residence for evidence, that evidence is considered the “fruit of a poisonous tree.” Even if a search turns up contraband, if the search was illegal then anything after the illegal search could be excluded at trial.
For example, what if the police break into a person’s house without a warrant or any other exception to the warrant requirement, and find illegal drugs? There is no question that the drugs are illegal, but the manner in which they obtained the drugs was illegal as well. In a situation like this, a motion to suppress may be appropriate.
In that motion, the lawyer for the Defendant would argue that any evidence obtained through the illegal search of the police should be prevented from being presented at trial. If granted, the prosecution would not be able to mention the fact that illegal drugs were found since that evidence was the result of illegal activity by the police. It would essentially ruin the case of the prosecution and possibly lead to a dismissal.
Suppression motions are difficult to win. In many cases, the police follow the law and procedures, or their conduct falls under an exception to the warrant requirement. But when they do not, the argument must be made that their activity was illegal and their conduct should not be rewarded. Even if the judge denies the motion, it is an issue that can be brought up on appeal if a conviction eventually does occur. Knowing the laws, procedures, and issues for suppressing evidence could be the difference between a conviction or a dismissal.
Every case is different, this is legal information and not legal advice. If you have a pending case and need to talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney in Toledo or the surrounding areas, please call Brian C. Morrissey, at 419-830-7441 to discuss the specifics of your case.