In any criminal case, the evidence against the defendant can lead to a
conviction. However, when the evidence presented by the prosecutor contains
certain flaws or was unlawfully obtained, a
criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress the evidence.
In Texas, a motion to suppress asks the judge to throw out evidence which
was collected by law enforcement or a private party since it was obtained
in violation of state law or the U.S. Constitution. This motion is typically
filed prior to trial.
The following are the common reasons a court may suppress evidence:
Police conducted an unlawful search and seizure – According to the Exclusionary Rule, evidence must be collected
through legal search and seizure methods in order to be admissible in
court. Police need to have a legitimate arrest or search warrant, or probable
cause that the defendant committed a crime to lawfully gather evidence.
Police failed to read the defendant his/her Miranda rights – Upon arrest or detainment, the defendant needs to know that he/she
has the right to remain silent, that anything he/she says can be used
as evidence in a court of law, and that he/she has a right to legal counsel.
If law enforcement fails to read the defendant his/her Miranda warnings,
anything he/she says after arrest is inadmissible.
Broken chain of custody – From being collected by law enforcement to its presentation by
the prosecutor in the courtroom, the process of documenting and preserving
evidence is known as the “chain of custody”. If any part of
the chain is compromised (i.e. police mislabeled blood samples, failed
to perform the proper testing procedures, etc.), the evidence can be thrown out.
When a criminal defense attorney files a motion to suppress with the clerk’s
office, a copy is given to the prosecutor, who has a chance to file an
objection to the arguments contained in the motion. If the prosecution
files a response, a court hearing will be held before a judge to determine
if the evidence mentioned in the motion is inadmissible.
In most cases, a motion to suppress can lead to a dismissal. If the prosecution
cannot prove the case against the defendant, the state may have no choice
but to dismiss the case.
For more information about a motion to suppress,
contact our College Station criminal defense lawyer at
The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. today.