What is a Motion to Suppress Evidence?

A motion to suppress evidence happens before trial, requesting the court to withhold specific evidence from the jury’s consideration. There are many reasons why criminal defense and injury lawyers in Philadelphia file it when defending their clients. In gun cases, it’s usually because police illegally searched the defendant or arrested them unlawfully.

If you’re arrested for a gun-related crime, let your lawyers know everything about the event leading to the search and your arrest. They can evaluate the circumstances and look for nuances that justify the suppression of evidence to help you beat the charges. Lawyers know how the law and system work and can help you navigate the intricacies of your charges.

What Are the Legal Grounds for a Motion to Suppress?

All citizens have certain privacy rights. Police officers don’t have the right to pat people down without reasonable suspicion to believe that they are armed, dangerous, or involved in some criminal activity. Besides, police officers need probable cause to conduct a full search of a person.

If law enforcers search or arrest you without reasonable suspicion or probable cause, your weapons charges attorney in Philadelphia can request the court to suppress or exclude any evidence the prosecutor brings against you. Various legal grounds that warrant a motion to suppress include the following:

Violation of the Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable police searches and seizures, meaning that police officers must get a warrant before conducting a search, apart from some cases. Some exceptions to the warrant requirement are:

  • Stops and frisks informed by reasonable suspicion of criminal activity
  • Searches based on exigent circumstances
  • Specific vehicle searches
  • Searches that you consent to
  • Searches involving objects in plain view

However, even under these circumstances, the prosecutor is still burdened to prove that the facts are within the exempted warranty requirements. Aggressive weapons charge lawyers in Philadelphia can analyze the prosecutor’s claims and analyze them for loopholes that weaken the evidence, hence challenging the legality of your arrest.

Evidence Obtained Illegally

Judges only issue search warrants upon a formal request after determining enough evidence to establish probable cause. However, even if police officers have a search warrant against you, they shouldn’t search everything and anything they want. They must adhere to the warrant’s stringent and narrow terms while following constitutional procedures.

Your Philadelphia weapons charge lawyers can file a motion to suppress tangible or intangible evidence obtained in a warranted search under the following conditions:

  • The evidence the police obtained was beyond the scope of the warrant
  • The property obtained was not among those listed in the warrant
  • There’s no probable cause in the warrant
  • The police violated Constitutional standards while executing the warrant
  • The warrant was insipient in its details and on its face

Violation of the Fifth Amendment

The Fifth Amendment protects you against self-incrimination. If the police obtained your statements or confessions while violating this right, your lawyer can request to have the information suppressed. Examples are if you were coerced to make the statements or were not informed of your Miranda Rights.

Constructive Possession

In some gun crime cases, the prosecutor may argue that a defendant had constructive possession of the firearm, meaning that the weapon was found in a place near enough to the defendant to be in their immediate control instead of having it on their person.

For example, if the police pulled you over and found a gun wedged between the console and the passenger seat, the prosecutor could argue you had constructive possession of it. Your lawyers could file a motion to suppress the evidence, citing other people who were nearby and who might have owned the gun with which you’re charged.

Aggressive and knowledgeable lawyers can investigate to uncover who had access to the gun’s location. Such issues can effectively cast reasonable doubt, resulting in an acquittal.

Violation of the Sixth Amendment

The Sixth Amendment guarantees your right to assistance of counsel. The police should inform you of this right and allow you to contact a criminal defense lawyer after your arrest. If they collect statements or question you in violation of this right, the evidence can be suppressed.

Violation of Various Statutes in the Constitution

The Federal Constitution and statutory laws also provide additional protections for defendants. For example, it is illegal for law enforcers to intercept and disclose wire, electronic, or oral communications while collecting evidence against defendants. If your lawyers establish that the way evidence was collected violated any of these protections, they can have it suppressed.

Why is a Motion to Suppress a Strong Defense Strategy?

If you’re facing gun-related charges, such as possession, and the court grants your lawyers’ request to suppress the evidence, there are high chances for your case to be dismissed. The prosecution can’t prove their case against you as the only evidence they had, the gun, is not admissible in court.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Helping You File a Motion to Suppress Evidence

Gun charges can have severe consequences if you’re convicted of committing the crime. The first step in defending yourself is to hire the services of skilled criminal defense lawyers in Philadelphia. They can evaluate the prosecutor’s evidence and file a motion to suppress it if they determine it was obtained unlawfully or the police violated your rights.

When looking for a lawyer, consider their skills and experience in criminal law to enhance your chances of a favorable outcome. The Liberty Law Team has knowledgeable and aggressive weapons charges attorneys who can come to your defense. The Second Amendment upholds your right to gun ownership, and we can help you defend it. Call us at (215) 826-3314 for a FREE case evaluation.