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When can evidence be excluded from your criminal case?

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

A judge can decide to exclude specific evidence from your trial for various reasons. This follows a successful motion to suppress, usually filed by the defendant or their defense team during pretrial hearings.

When the court grants a motion to suppress, the affected evidence will not be used during your trial. The prosecution will have to make do without the excluded evidence, which could significantly affect the outcome of your case.

Possible reasons to exclude evidence

A judge can grant a motion to suppress on several legal grounds. For example, if the police violated your constitutional rights when obtaining the evidence, it may not be admissible in court. Such instances include an unlawful search and seizure conducted by law enforcement on you or your property or an illegally obtained confession.

Similarly, errors in the chain of custody can lead to the exclusion of evidence. The police must follow strict procedures when dealing with evidence in their possession, from handling and safekeeping to storage and documentation. Otherwise, the evidence may be excluded due to gaps or mistakes in the chain of custody.

What it means for your case

The prosecution may have hinged its case on a particular piece of evidence. If it is excluded from the trial, it may be near impossible to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It could be a game-changer. You may end up with reduced charges or no case to answer.

Most importantly, you need a strong argument to support your motion to suppress. It is best to have proper counsel by your side since things can get complicated from a legal point of view. An informed evaluation and assessment of your case will help you lay out the right strategy for your defense.

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