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Motions to Suppress: Getting Evidence Excluded

Chahine Legal LLC April 10, 2023

Detail of DNA sampling tubes in Laboratorio forensic equipmentFacing criminal proceedings can be a daunting task. That is why getting strong criminal defense counsel is crucial in defending a charged individual’s rights. This defense might include a motion to suppress during a criminal case. 

At Chahine Legal PLLC, I believe in fighting for everyone’s right to a fair defense in Lawrence and the rest of the state of Kansas. As a criminal defense attorney, I proudly serve communities throughout Kansas and Missouri, including Olathe, Overland Park, and Lenexa. Set up a consultation with me today.  

What Is a Motion to Suppress? 

A motion to suppress is a formal request made by a defendant in a criminal case asking the court to exclude certain evidence from the trial. The defendant argues that the evidence was obtained illegally or in violation of their constitutional rights and should not be allowed to be used against them in court. 

The motion to suppress is typically filed before the trial begins and is heard by a judge. The judge will listen to arguments from both sides and review any evidence submitted in support of the motion. The judge will then decide whether to suppress the evidence or allow it to be used at trial. 

Types of Motion to Suppress 

The types of evidence that may be subject to a motion to suppress can include physical evidence, statements made by the defendant, or other types of evidence that may have been obtained in violation of the defendant’s rights. Examples of filing a motion to suppress might include: 

Illegal Search and Seizure 

If evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, the defendant may argue that the evidence should be excluded from the trial. 

Miranda Rights Violation 

If the defendant was not properly informed of their Miranda rights, any statements made by the defendant might be subject to suppression. 

Coercion or Duress 

If the defendant was coerced or threatened into providing evidence, that evidence may be subject to suppression. 

If a motion to suppress is successful and the evidence is excluded from trial, it can significantly impact the prosecution’s case and may result in the charges being dropped or reduced. 

What Kind of Evidence Can Be Suppressed? 

Depending on the case’s specific circumstances, various types of evidence can be subject to a motion to suppress and be excluded from the trial. Here are some common examples of evidence that can be suppressed:  

Physical Evidence 

Evidence such as weapons, drugs, or other objects seized during a search or arrest may be suppressed if the search or arrest was conducted in violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. 

Witness Testimony 

A defendant may seek to suppress the testimony of a witness if they believe the witness’s testimony was obtained in violation of their rights, such as through coercion or without proper legal procedures. 

Statements Made by Defendant 

If the defendant’s statements were obtained in violation of their Miranda rights or were made under duress or coercion, they may be suppressed.  

Electronic Evidence 

Electronic evidence—such as emails, text messages, or social media posts—may be subject to a motion to suppress if obtained through an illegal search or in violation of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. 

Identification Evidence 

Identification evidence, such as a witness’s identification of the defendant in a lineup or photo array, may be subject to suppression if the identification procedure was improperly conducted.  

What Is the Process to File for a Motion to Suppress? 

The process to file a motion to suppress varies depending on the jurisdiction and the court where the case is being heard. Still, generally speaking, the following steps can be expected: 

Consult With an Attorney 

It’s important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help determine if there are any legal grounds for filing a motion to suppress. 

Draft and File the Motion 

The defendant’s attorney will draft a written motion to suppress that sets out the legal arguments and evidence in support of the motion. The motion must comply with the court’s rules regarding format, timing, and service and must be filed with the court. 

Serve the Motion on the Prosecution 

The motion must be served on the prosecution, and the prosecution will have an opportunity to respond in writing to the motion. 

Attend a Hearing 

The court will schedule a hearing on the motion to suppress in which both sides will have the opportunity to argue their positions and present evidence. 

Court Decision 

The court will consider the arguments and evidence presented and decide whether to grant or deny the motion to suppress. The evidence in question will be excluded from the trial if the motion is granted. 

Turn to Strong Representation 

At Chahine Legal LLC, I combine an assertive attitude with a caring approach. I believe in giving my clients the information and support they need to navigate the criminal justice system effectively. When you’re ready to get started, set up a simple one-on-one appointment.