You may think your case is done and dusted, given the prosecution’s evidence against you. However, it may not be the case. Not all evidence makes it to the courtroom. A judge can exclude some of the prosecution’s evidence from the trial, which can significantly affect the final verdict.
The exclusion of evidence follows a motion to suppress, usually filed by the defense during pretrial hearings. Once the judge assesses the legality or admissibility of the evidence in question and grants the motion, the suppressed evidence will not be used at trial.
Legal grounds for suppression of evidence
In most cases, evidence obtained in disregard of your constitutional rights is inadmissible in court. For instance, if the police acquired the evidence through an unlawful search and seizure or in violation of your Miranda rights (the right to remain silent and the right to counsel), it may be excluded from your trial.
Similarly, errors in the chain of custody can also form the basis of a motion to suppress. If the police did not take proper care when handling evidence in their possession and there are doubts about its integrity, such evidence may not make it to trial.
What evidence suppression could mean for your case
The potential impact of evidence suppression on the charges you face depends on how crucial the excluded evidence is to the prosecution’s case. If key evidence is excluded, it may be hard to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This may lead to a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
It is also worth noting that suppressing evidence is a legally complex undertaking that requires extensive knowledge of the law and the justice system. It underlines the importance of having an experienced defense counsel to help you through it all.