Suppression of Evidence

Suppressing Evidence in Criminal Defense Cases

Minnesota Defense Lawyer Works to Protect Rights of the Accused

While every case is unique, one strategy that is very useful, specifically in drug cases, is what they call “suppressing evidence”. This is essentially a complex way to say “this evidence can not be used in court”. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will use the suppression of evidence to try to keep incriminating evidence out of your case.

How Can Suppressing Evidence Help Someone Accused of a Crime?

Sometimes a single piece of evidence is essentially the entire case against you. Think about the evidence in a DUI or a simple drug possession case. The sample proving you were over the legal limit (in a DUI) or the actual drugs that were confiscated (in a possession case) are essentially the entire case against you. If that individual piece of evidence is not allowed into court, the prosecution's case falls apart and typically they are forced to dismiss the charges.

Why Would Evidence Be Suppressed?

The goal of suppressing evidence is usually to protect the constitutional rights of the accused. Typically the “suppression of evidence” would refer to the prosecution not being allowed to use the evidence to further their case against the accused. For example, if the police violated someone’s right to privacy when they gathered the evidence, a defense lawyer can submit a motion to suppress the evidence based on the unlawful search and seizure of the evidence.

In drug cases, a single piece of evidence can often be the focus of the prosecution's entire case. If the controlled substance that was allegedly found by the police is excluded from the evidence, a drug possession case becomes very difficult to prosecute. In a DUI case, the mishandling of the blood alcohol content sample would almost always lead to a dismissal, because again, the entire case relies on the prosecution being able to prove that the accused driver was over the legal limit.

When Can Evidence Be Suppressed?

Again, every case is unique, but here are three situations that can commonly result in evidence being suppressed:

  • Chain of Custody - This refers to the procedures and rules that police must follow when handling evidence. This might come into play when a county uses a third party testing lab for DUI results and they are found to have mishandled the samples. Chain of custody is essentially the idea that evidence must be stored, handled and analyzed correctly from the time of the arrest to the time of trial. If the “chain of custody” is broken because of questionable lab procedures, records getting misplaced, or other circumstances that cast doubt on the evidence.
  • Failure to Miranda - Anyone who has seen a police drama is probably familiar with the “Miranda Warning”, which is the right to remain silent, the right to counsel, etc. If the police fail to give you your Miranda Warning at the time of your arrest, the information that they obtain from interviewing you may be excluded from trial.
  • Unlawful Search & Seizure - The constitution gives us all freedom from unnecessary government intrusion in our lives. Law enforcement need to have either solid probable cause or a valid search warrant to search for evidence. Evidence that is gathered from an illegal search or an unlawful arrest is thought of as “fruit from a poisoned tree” meaning that regardless of what was found, it can not be used because it came from a problematic source.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer - Contact Us Today

If you feel like you are being prosecuted with evidence that was illegally obtained or you need help resolving a criminal charge or investigation, contact my office today. I work with people all over Minnesota from my office in St. Paul. I fight for the freedom of the accused. If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact me today.

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