Allegations of criminal wrongdoing can have a tremendous impact on your life. They can certainly damage your reputation, but they can also threaten you with conviction, which in turn, may lead to incarceration, lost employment, and other consequences that can touch just about every aspect of your life.
With so much on the line, you need to be motivated to build the strongest criminal defense possible given the circumstances at hand. If you’re facing drug charges, then evidence suppression might be one of the best legal strategies that you can deploy.
What is evidence suppression?
Evidence suppression is the process of seeking to prevent certain pieces of evidence from being used against you in a criminal prosecution. If successful in suppressing evidence, you can derail the prosecution’s case, thereby significantly increasing the possibility of obtaining acquittal. Even if the risk of conviction still exists, suppressed evidence can raise risks for prosecutors, which may drive them to offer a more favorable plea deal.
How is evidence suppressed?
If you hope to block the prosecution’s evidence, then you’re going to have to file a motion with the court requesting that the evidence in question be suppressed. The court is going to assess your arguments and make a determination that it thinks is proper in light of the law, but you can strengthen your argument for suppression if you can show that any of the following are present in your case:
- An illegal search and seizure: Law enforcement officers have to respect your Constitutional rights, including your right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that police officers are typically supposed to have a warrant before searching you, your car, or your home, but there are a number of exceptions to the warrant requirement that police officers try to use. However, if those exceptions are misapplied, then you can argue that any evidence that is gathered in violation of your Constitutional rights is tainted by illegality and is therefore inadmissible at trial. This is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. This argument often arises in the context of a traffic stop that lacked the requisite reasonable suspicion.
- Chain of custody errors: Evidence has to be collected and maintained in a way that protects its integrity if prosecutors hope to utilize it at trial. If there was an error in the collection or storage of evidence, then you may be able to draw its reliability into question so much that the court finds it inadmissible.
- Failure to appear at a deposition: Depositions are one of the best ways to learn what the prosecution’s witnesses know and how they plan to testify. But if you subpoena those witnesses for depositions and they fail to appear, then you’re left at a distinct disadvantage in your case. This unfairness may be enough for a court to block any testimony from that witness, which could give you some breathing room with your defense.
Know how to use the law to your advantage
Evidence suppression is just one legal tactic that you may be able to deploy in your case. There may be a lot of other strategies that you can utilize to protect your freedom and your future. If you’d like to learn more about your criminal defense options and how best to build your legal arguments, then you may want to think about having representation on your side who can help you aggressively present your case.