If the prosecution’s case rests on a specific piece of evidence--no
matter if that evidence is an item(s) or the defendant’s own words--and
there is a concern that the defendant's rights are violated during
the collection of evidence, a criminal defense attorney can file a motion
to suppress evidence. This motion is filed prior to a criminal trial,
so the piece of evidence is prevented from being introduced at the trial.
According to the “exclusionary rule,” for most evidence to
be admissible in court, it needs to be obtained through legal search and
seizure methods. Evidence found to be gathered illegally cannot be sued
against a defendant in a court of law because police failed to follow
legal procedure in acquiring such evidence.
Furthermore, the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine states
that otherwise admissible evidence, testimony, or confessions may not
be used in court if they were caused from an illegal search or some other
constitutional violation. So, for example, if incriminating statements
were made by the defendant before law enforcement read them their Miranda
rights or when police ignored their requests to speak to their attorney,
their words may later be deemed inadmissible at trial.
The following are the common reasons a trial judge may suppress evidence:
Unlawful search and seizure - The Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.
Law enforcement needs to have probable cause, a valid search warrant,
or a valid arrest warrant to search for and obtain evidence.
Failure to read Miranda rights - Before a suspect is subject to police questioning or interrogation while
under their custody. Any person has the right to remain silent, that anything
he/she says may be used against him/her in court, and that he/she has
the right to a lawyer. If the suspect is not read these rights, confessions
or statements made after arrest cannot be used in court.
Errors in the chain of custody - “Chain of custody” refers to the process of documenting
and taking care of evidence--from its seizure by law enforcement to its
presentation in court. If the chain of custody breaks at any point in
the process, the evidence may lose credibility and could be considered
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Florida, the results
of your trial are going to rely on the evidence admitted in court. Our
Daytona Beach criminal defense attorney at
Law Offices of Robert Stepniak can evaluate your case and consider the possibility that any evidence
can be suppressed to either get your case entirely dismissed or your charges
For more information about our legal services,
contact us and request a free consultation today.