In most situations, the strength of the evidence in a California criminal case will determine its outcome. Therefore, it isn’t uncommon for a defense attorney to make an effort to suppress evidence in order to weaken the case against his or her client. Let’s take a look at what it means to suppress evidence.
Evidence must be properly obtained
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unlawful searches and seizures. There must be probable cause to search your home, car or other places where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Authorities must generally have probable cause to search the contents of a phone, computer or another electronic device. If a judge rules that information was improperly obtained, it will likely be inadmissible at trial.
Were you read your Miranda rights?
While a police officer takes you into custody, he or she must inform you of your rights to remain silent and to seek counsel. If authorities fail to do so, a judge may throw out any statements that you made. If others are taken into custody based on those statements, lawyers in those cases may seek to have charges against their clients reduced or dismissed. Authorities may need to remind minors of their rights multiple times during an interrogation.
Were there issues with how evidence was handled?
Let’s say that you provided a blood sample to authorities as part of a DUI investigation. Let’s also say that the police improperly handled, stored or transported that sample before it could be properly tested. In such a scenario, a criminal defense lawyer would likely ask a judge to throw out the results of that test since there is no way to know how accurate they are.
If you’re convicted of a crime, you may spend time in jail, pay a fine or perform community service. An attorney may be able to have evidence suppressed in an effort to create reasonable doubt in your case. This may allow you to receive a favorable plea deal or a full acquittal.