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What is a Motion to Suppress Evidence?


In order for police officers to make an arrest and collect evidence, they must follow certain procedures to ensure a suspect’s constitutional rights are protected. However, sometimes law enforcement ignores protocol for its own benefit.

Fortunately, if there are any doubts about how the evidence is obtained, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can file a motion on behalf of the defendant.

A motion to suppress evidence is a request made before a trial takes place, asking the judge to exclude specific evidence from the case. If the defendant obtains a motion to suppress, his or her case could be eventually dismissed. Without key evidence to convict the defendant, there is no case.

The following are the common reasons why a court may suppress evidence:

  • Unlawful search and seizure – The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people when police officers obtain evidence without establishing probable cause of a crime or without a valid search or arrest warrant.
  • Didn’t read Miranda warning – You may have heard in countless crime movies and television shows, starting with “You have the right to remain silent…” If police officers fail to read a suspect his or her Miranda rights, anything he or she says after the arrest is made may not be admissible at trial.
  • Errors regarding the chain of custody – From seizing the evidence to presenting it in court, this process is known as the “chain of custody.” If any part of the chain is broken, then the evidence loses credibility and might be dismissed.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Santa Barbara or Ventura County, contact Appel & Morse and schedule a free criminal consultation today.

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