The prosecution heavily relies on evidence to prove a defendant’s guilt to the threshold required in criminal cases – beyond a reasonable doubt. In the context of driving under the influence (DUI) charges, crucial evidence includes breathalyzer or blood test results, field sobriety tests and even your statements of confession.
However, not all of the prosecution’s evidence is admissible in court. In other words, not all evidence can be presented before the judge or jury in a trial. This can happen when a judge grants a motion to suppress.
When can evidence be suppressed?
Evidence can be suppressed for various reasons. The most common is if the police violated your constitutional rights while obtaining the evidence. For instance, if you were forced into giving a confession, or if the police obtained the evidence following an unlawful stop, it may be inadmissible in court.
Another reason for suppressing evidence is if there were police mistakes when obtaining or handling it, leading to doubts about its integrity. It could be a DUI blood test conducted by an unqualified officer or errors that led to the loss or contamination of the blood sample.
The process of suppressing evidence
Without delving into the legal intricacies, suppressing evidence starts with a motion to suppress. The defense usually files the motion during pre-trial hearings, arguing that specific evidence should be excluded from the trial. The prosecution is also given a chance to counter the motion. Depending on the facts of the case, a judge may grant or deny it.
Why it matters to your case
Evidence suppression can significantly shape the outcome of your case. For instance, it can reduce the prosecution’s evidence and make it harder to establish your guilt. It can also create reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds, making them more likely to acquit you or find you guilty of a lesser charge. Finally, suppressing evidence can increase your bargaining power with the prosecution should talks of a plea deal arise.
It helps to know that the legal system is complex, and attempting to suppress evidence without proper guidance can lead to negative consequences, such as losing key evidence that could have helped your case. Legal guidance can help protect your interests and increase the chances of a positive outcome to your case.