Get Evidence Thrown Out of a Florida Criminal Case
When you’ve been arrested on criminal charges, you probably assume that incriminating evidence will spell the end of your case and your chances of beating the charges are slim. However, you should always remember that you still have rights under the US Constitution and similar provisions of the Florida Constitution. Violations are serious matters – at times serious enough to have evidence tossed out of court if it was obtained through an infringement of your civil liberties. Any time constitutional issues arise in a criminal case, you can expect extremely complicated legal proceedings. Your Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney can handle the complexities, but you may find some general information useful.
Grounds for Suppressing Evidence: Your civil liberties exist to prevent overreaching by government, including law enforcement and prosecutors. Unfortunately, officials may still engage in unlawful conduct. One way to counteract against violations of your rights is to have illegally obtained evidence tossed out of court. Doing so requires a motion to suppress, which is a request to have the judge find the information inadmissible through the exclusionary rule – i.e., have it tossed out of court.
Reasons a Judge May Toss Evidence in a Florida Criminal Case: The three most common grounds to file a motion to suppress and request the judge to apply the exclusionary rule are:
- Protections from Unlawful Search and Seizure: If police don’t have a warrant or probable cause, they cannot conduct a search of your person, home, or business.
- Your Rights Under Miranda v. Arizona: Officers must inform you of your right to remain silent and consult with a lawyer.
- Evidence and the Chain of Custody: There are many circumstances that affect the accuracy, stability, and integrity of evidence from the point where police seize it to your trial.
If there are constitutional violations, legal issues, or anomalies with respect to these three factors, you may be able to have evidence excluded – meaning the prosecutor cannot use it against you in court. Some exceptions may apply, such as where police would have ultimately discovered the evidence regardless of an infraction. Plus, if another source would have revealed the information, it can still be used against you in court.
Implications of Inadmissible Evidence: If you prevail on a motion to suppress and the evidence against you is tossed out of court, that doesn’t mean your case is over. The charges may not go away if the prosecutor still has enough information to support a conviction. However, once the exclusionary rule applies, the prosecution may drop the charges because there’s insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Get Legal Help from a Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer
To learn more about suppressing evidence in a criminal case, please contact the Fort Lauderdale, FL law offices of defense attorney Kevin J. Kulik. We can set up a no-cost, no-obligations consultation to determine if there are grounds to have incriminating information tossed out of court. Our team serves clients in Broward County and throughout Southern Florida, and we can provide essential defense services in a criminal case.