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What happens if a court suppresses evidence against you?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If a judge suppresses evidence in your criminal case, the prosecution cannot use it during your trial. This effort would follow a successful motion to suppress filed by the defense team during pre-trial hearings asking the court to exclude specific evidence for qualifying reasons.

A court may grant such a motion for several reasons. It could be because the evidence was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, such as the right against unreasonable searches and seizures or the right against self-incrimination. Similarly, a judge may exclude evidence if its integrity has been compromised due to law enforcement mistakes leading to its contamination or tampering by third parties.

Suppression could weaken the prosecution’s case

The prosecution heavily relies on evidence to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – the legal threshold for a conviction. As such, suppressing crucial evidence from your case can make it hard for the prosecution to present a compelling argument that would persuade the jury to convict you. This could lead to a case dismissal, especially if the suppressed evidence is central to the prosecution’s case.

Evidence suppression can also give you more leverage in plea negotiations, potentially leading to a favorable bargain. In most cases, prosecutors may be more willing to negotiate a plea deal that could result in reduced charges or a lenient sentence than proceed to trial with a weak case.

The importance of having qualified legal guidance when considering or filing a motion to suppress evidence cannot be overstated. You may have a valid basis for suppressing evidence, but it takes more than merely identifying constitutional violations or police mistakes. There are court procedures you must comply with on top of navigating the legal intricacies involved for a successful motion.