The prosecution may have lots of evidence against you, but not all of it may make it to the trial. This follows a successful motion to suppress, usually filed by the defendant.
When a judge grants the motion to suppress, it essentially bars the prosecution from using the suppressed evidence against you during the trial. Here is how this happens.
Motion to suppress explained
A motion to suppress is filed during pre-trial hearings. In short, it is a formal request for the court to exclude specific evidence before the trial begins. After filing a motion to suppress, the judge will examine its legal merits and the grounds for suppression before deciding whether to grant or dismiss it.
Some grounds for a motion to suppress may include violations of your constitutional and legal rights and errors in the chain of custody by law enforcement. The constitution protects you from arbitrary searches and from making self-incriminating statements. You also have rights when under arrest, commonly known as Miranda rights.
For instance, if the police obtained the evidence through an unlawful search and seizure or a forced confession, a judge may decide to exclude such evidence from the trial. A violation of or failure to read your Miranda rights may also form the basis of a motion to suppress evidence.
Similarly, if the police improperly handled your evidence leading to its destruction, contamination or tampering, it may be suppressed from the trial due to doubts about its integrity and authenticity.
What it means to your criminal case
A motion to suppress could significantly affect the direction of your case. When crucial evidence is suppressed, it may be hard for the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Alternatively, the case against you may not hold without sufficient evidence.
It is worth noting that everything is not so straightforward, and there are certain legal exceptions that may apply. Therefore, it is advisable to have an informed assessment of the specifics of your charges to determine if a motion to suppress is viable and what else you can do to better your chances of a desirable verdict.