What is a Motion to Suppress?

During a criminal investigation, police officers must follow certain laws and procedures to ensure the evidence is collected legally and without bias, provide transparency, and protect the suspect’s rights. However, there are many times where police break protocol—typically by mistake.

When law enforcement commits an error during a criminal investigation, it is possible that your criminal defense lawyer can file a “motion to suppress” during the preliminary stages of your case. If the court grants the motion, then the prosecution cannot use the evidence at trial. This often leads to the entire case being dismissed or a plea bargain agreement with favorable terms.

The following are the most common reasons the court may suppress evidence:

  • Unlawful search and seizure – The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individuals against unlawful searches and seizures. In order to search for or collect evidence, officers must either have a warrant or probable cause that a crime has been committed. Without a warrant or probable cause, any evidence collected during a search is inadmissible in court.
  • No Miranda warning – When a suspect is in custody, police are required to read his/her Miranda rights before interrogation or questioning. These rights include the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. If law enforcement fails to read the suspect his/her Miranda rights or ignores his/her pleas to speak to an attorney, anything the suspect says after an arrest cannot be used in court.
  • Broken chain of custody – From being seized by officers to being presented in the trial, the process of documenting evidence is known as the “chain of custody.” If this chain is broken at any point of the criminal case, the evidence may significantly lose enough credibility to be thrown out of court.

If you have been arrested for a crime in Minneapolis, contact Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. at (612) 979-1112 and schedule a free case review today.