Different legal doctrines exist. While they may not be used in everyday conversations, you should be informed of them, especially when facing a criminal charge, and one of them is the fruit of the poisonous tree.Here is what you need to know about this doctrine:
What is it?
The fruit of the poisonous tree is a doctrine that makes illegally obtained evidence inadmissible in court. Thus, if the police collect evidence in a way that violates your rights, you may use this doctrine to defend yourself from any charge.For example, if the police illegally search your home, that is, without a warrant, and find drugs or any other thing that can be linked to a crime, they may not use such evidence in court.
Are there exceptions?
The police may obtain evidence illegally but can legally use it against someone. These instances constitute exceptions to the fruit of the poisonous tree. One of them is inevitable discovery, which describes evidence that could have been obtained lawfully in the course of the police investigation or procedure. In essence, the evidence would have been gathered regardless of the illegality.For example, using the illegal home search example, if the police hear reliable informants in the house talking about the drugs, this evidence may be accepted in court. If the police had a warrant and interrogated the informants, they would have obtained the information.Another exception is intervening events, which involve a statement from a defendant leading to evidence. For example, when a defendant gives a statement voluntarily without a Miranda warning. If this leads to evidence, the police can use it. The statement may be inadmissible, but the collected evidence may not.If you believe the police collected evidence against you illegally, you may need to get legal help to make the right moves.