If you’re facing criminal charges, you may worry what evidence law enforcement officials have collected against you. You may fear that you cannot challenge it during your trial. But the evidence gathered may meet the threshold of inadmissibility. If it does, you can make a motion to suppress it before your trial begins.
Questions of admissibility
Inadmissible evidence refers to items that do not have valid status in a court of law. If officials present them at your trial, their actions violate the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The amendment’s exclusionary rule provides that evidence cannot appear during a trial if its collection happened in an improper manner.
Yet, inadmissible evidence goes beyond that which experienced illegal obtainment. The term also refers to:
- Evidence that could prejudice the jury and judge
- Evidence that lacks relevance to your case
- Evidence that meets the threshold for hearsay
Making your challenge
If your trial will contain inadmissible evidence, you must challenge it immediately. Doing so requires you to file a motion to suppress evidence beforehand. This motion allows you to argue that certain items do not qualify for inclusion. A judge will then hear your case and make a ruling based on your argument.
Besides evidence that violates your Fourth Amendment rights, you can motion to suppress that which interferes with your right to due process. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee this right, which allows you the chance for fair treatment during your trial. Filing a motion to suppress is also appropriate if officials violated your right to counsel granted in the Sixth Amendment. If they gathered evidence after you invoked it, this would go against its protections.
The presentation of inadmissible evidence at your trial could make the difference between a fair and unfair verdict. If it factors into your case, you must act immediately. An attorney with criminal defense experience can help you fight against its inclusion.