A strong tool in fighting criminal charges is a motion to suppress evidence. These are often based on constitutional issues, stating officers violated an arrestee’s rights in collecting evidence. Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your charges and determine the best way to fight them. We will review the evidence against you and determine whether we can file a motion to suppress, or other types of pretrial motions. Contact the firm for a free consultation to discuss your case and ask questions today.
If a motion to suppress was filed, the Court will hold an “evidentiary hearing”, meaning the Court will hear testimony from witnesses about the facts that make up the motion. These motions are most often filed when the defense believes law enforcement improperly stopped or searched the suspect, in violation of the suspect’s 4th Amendment U.S. Constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The motion is asking the Court to suppress, or keep out, any evidence that was observed, heard, or collected that was found due to the officer’s unconstitutional actions.
For example, a motion to suppress evidence regarding a defendant driving under the influence would state the officer stopped the defendant’s vehicle without a reasonable suspicion that a crime or traffic infraction had or will occur. The goal is to suppress any evidence that was observed, heard, or collected, like an odor of alcohol or open beer can, after the officer improperly stopped the vehicle. The logic is, had the officer not violated the driver’s rights, this evidence could not have been found.
At the hearing, the State has the burden to establish that the officer did in fact have that reasonable suspicion, and therefore, the stop was constitutional. The defense attorney cross examines the officers, and places any witnesses on the stand if possible, to and show the stop was unconstitutional. It is not recommended for the defendant to testify at this hearing. First, the judge knows the defendant will say what he needs to to make the facts work for him. Second, if a defendant testifies at a pretrial hearing, it will be under oath, and can be used against him at trial if he testifies differently. If the judge denies the motion to suppress, all evidence may be introduced at trial. If the judge grants the motion and finds that the officer did in fact stop the driver without reasonable suspicion, the judge will then suppress all evidence that was found after the officer stopped the vehicle. Unless other evidence is available to the State and they can prove the crime without the suppressed evidence, the State will be forced to drop all charges, called “nolle prosequi”, or “nolle pros”. The State may appeal the Court’s ruling and hope to reverse the Court’s order granting the motion.
If you or someone you love has been cited or arrested for anything, contact criminal attorney Mark Lowry immediately to help understand the criminal process and how to fight your charges. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.