Being charged with a crime is a frightening experience. Prosecutors can be intimidating and want you to believe your case is hopeless. Fortunately, you’re not guilty just because you’ve been charged with a crime.

The prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This requires them to have evidence that proves you committed a crime. However, evidence can be corrupted, illegally obtained, or inaccurate. Getting a key piece of evidence suppressed can be the difference between a trial and a dismissal.

At Skinner Law Firm, we scrutinize every piece of evidence the prosecution has and aggressively pursue suppression wherever it is appropriate. If you’re facing criminal charges, we can help.

Call (610) 436-1410 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Suppressed Evidence Under Federal Law

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures. As a result, evidence seized during a search or an arrest without a warrant or probable cause can be suppressed under what is referred to as the “exclusionary rule.” This means that any evidence that is suppressed cannot be used against you in court.

Suppressed Evidence in Pennsylvania

Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution mirror’s the Fourth Amendment. While the sections on unreasonable searches and seizures are nearly identical, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Pennsylvania may interpret its own protections more broadly than what is afforded by the U.S. Constitution.

Examples of Evidence that May Be Suppressed

Almost any kind of evidence can be suppressed: physical evidence, witness statements, or even statements that appear to be an admission of guilt. In order for evidence to be suppressed, there must be some legal basis to do so.

Here are the most common legal arguments for suppressing evidence:

  • Lack of probable cause
  • The police had an invalid search or arrest warrant or did not have one at all
  • Failure to read Miranda rights
  • Errors in the chain of custody

In some instances, the violation of a defendant’s rights is obvious, which makes suppressing any evidence illegally obtained fairly straightforward. In most cases, however, the violation may not be obvious.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the prosecution’s evidence, determine whether or not your rights were violated, and take the necessary steps to have the evidence suppressed.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer

The fact that your rights were violated does not mean the evidence will automatically be suppressed. Your lawyer will need to file a motion requesting that the court rule that the evidence was illegally obtained. The prosecution will therefore have the opportunity to respond and argue why the evidence should be allowed. The law surrounding the suppression of evidence is extremely complex. You need someone who knows the law and can formulate a persuasive argument.

In addition to understanding how the law applies to your case, you also need to know how to navigate the procedures of the criminal justice system. Timing is important, and even a simple procedural mistake can jeopardize your entire mistake. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know how and when to file your motion to suppress to have the best chances of success.

Contact a West Chester Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing a criminal charge can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this alone. Criminal defense attorney Michael J. Skinner has the knowledge, experience, and skill you need to level the playing field.

If you’ve been charged with a crime, contact Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 to schedule a free consultation and discuss how we can help you.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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