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What Is A Motion To Suppress Evidence?


A motion to suppress evidence is a very powerful tool that I use to defend my clients charged in both criminal and DUI cases. It’s a motion based on the Fourth Amendment, which reads as follows: “It’s the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be searched.”

The Fourth Amendment comes into play any time a police officer, FBI agent or other law enforcement officer conducts a search, particularly without a warrant. The concept of a motion to suppress under the Fourth Amendment is that while we may admit that law enforcement found contraband, they searched for it or discovered it in an unconstitutional manner. Therefore, that evidence must be excluded. For example, if a police officer conducts a traffic stop, searches the vehicle and finds contraband (such as a gun or drugs), then the Fourth Amendment will come into play. If the court determines that the search was without probable cause or was improper in some way, the contraband would be excluded from evidence.

Another example would be in the case of what’s called a “stop and frisk,” which is when an officer stops someone on the street and searches their pockets or purse. There are strict circumstances in which this search is allowed. If the search was performed illegally, the evidence would be suppressed and not admitted at trial. In a drunk-driving or DUI situation, if a court determines that there was not probable cause to arrest or that there was no probable cause to suggest that the driver was under the influence, then any breath, blood or urine test that they submitted to would be thrown out and excluded from evidence.

When the court grants our motion to suppress evidence and excludes contraband from the trial, most of the time that will effectively force the prosecutor to dismiss the case. That’s why I carefully explore the possibility of filing a motion to suppress in each case that I have.

What Are Common Grounds For Filing A Motion To Suppress?

Probable cause is one of the main factors to consider in a motion to suppress. Any type of police search or contraband that is discovered is subject to the motion to suppress evidence. The court also looks at whether there was a reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity to conduct a stop or perform a search.

Can I Get A Confession Thrown Out?

Confessions or criminal statements can be excluded through a motion to suppress evidence based on the Fourth Amendment, although it’s more often done to exclude other types of physical evidence. Those situations generally involve facts whereby the courts determine that there was not probable cause to arrest or detain a person. In other words, if the police were not entitled to arrest or place an individual in custody, then any statement or confession made while they were in custody would be excluded.

Is There Any Evidence That Absolutely Cannot Be Suppressed?

Any type of evidence can be suppressed based on a motion to suppress filed under the Fourth Amendment. This means that any evidence which was obtained illegally or unconstitutionally can be excluded. It doesn’t matter if the evidence we are trying to exclude is a drug in the amount of one gram or 1000 pounds; if the court finds that the search was improper, the evidence would be suppressed.

How Can A Motion To Suppress Help My Criminal Case?

When we are filing a motion to suppress, we are asking a court to exclude evidence (generally contraband) that forms the basis of the case against my client. In other words, the evidence that we are trying to exclude is usually some sort of evidence that we would rather not have shown. If they are not allowed to use that evidence, the case generally will get dismissed. In the case of a DUI, the prosecution’s case is much stronger with blood, breath or urine test results. If we are able to file a motion to suppress or have those tests excluded, then it becomes much more difficult for the prosecutor to prove their case. In cases involving drugs or guns, if the drugs or guns have been excluded from evidence based on my motion to suppress, there is no longer any evidence of illegal possession.

For more information on Motion To Suppress Evidence In Illinois, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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