What is Motion to Suppress Evidence?

How to Exclude Evidence from a Case

A motion to suppress evidence is when the defendant’s legal team asks the court to exclude evidence that the police obtained through an illegal search or seizure. This is grounded in the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and the California Penal Code 1-5 38.5.

There are three typical scenarios when a judge may grant a suppression motion. These are:

  1. Where the police carried out a search without a warrant or probable cause.
  2. Where the police had a warrant, but the warrant turned out to be defective. For example, maybe the police provide misleading information to the judge to secure a warrant.
  3. Where the police carried out a search that exceeds the scope of the warrant. For example, the police may have secured a warrant to search your home for a stolen item but they went ahead and searched your retail store.

In a felony case, there are two times when you can ask for the suppression of evidence. One is at the preliminary hearing, and the other is during the pre-trial phase i.e., after the preliminary hearing but before jury trial.

Deciding when to run the suppression motion is a strategic decision that the defendant’s legal team has to make.

In the case of a misdemeanor case, there is no preliminary hearing, so a suppression motion is only run during the pre-trial phase.

The legal team would normally begin by interviewing the defendant before conducting an investigation to gather the facts. The attorneys would then write a written motion of points and authorities of law for the judge.

During a court hearing, the attorneys would typically bring in the police officers and cross-examine them and try to discredit them and find inconsistencies in their story.

The prosecution would then submit their arguments, after which the judge would make a decision. If the judge rules in favor of the defense and grants the motion, then that would mean that the disputed evidence would be excluded from the case.

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, contact Mark Shayani of Pacific Attorney Group. He can provide a free consultation in office or by phone and is available to answer any question you may have.

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