Attacking Inadmissible Evidence in NJ Criminal Cases
When an officer arrests you in New Jersey, he or she must have evidence to support the arrest. Then, that evidence may be presented in an effort to convict you of the crime charged. As you might expect, the prosecution relies heavily on the evidence that police gather during the course of an investigation and resulting arrest. The evidence obtained and documented often allows law enforcement offices to make an arrest in the first place, and further creates the grounds for the charges.
For example, imagine the police search you and find that you have cocaine in your pocket. The fact that they found the cocaine is primary reason that you were charged with possessing an illegal substance. If that evidence, finding the cocaine, cannot be presented to a jury, then the State will likely have a very hard time showing that you had cocaine in your pocket. As you can imagine, the absence of key evidence like cocaine in a drug possession or intent to distribute case can quickly lead to an outright dismissal. This is why identifying evidence that can be excluded is so important to the success of your criminal case.
What Evidence Can be Suppressed?
Evidence that can be excluded is known as “inadmissible.” Evidence is inadmissible if it has been acquired unlawfully. If the police did not obtain evidence in a way that protects your rights as a citizen in New Jersey, then the evidence cannot be admissible in court. A motion to suppress is used to accomplish the suppression of inadmissible evidence. It is designed to keep specific types of evidence from being used against you.
The most common reason that a suppression motion is used is to stop evidence from coming in when it was the result of an illegal arrest, search, or seizure. However, things like coerced confessions and situations where you involuntarily give up your rights can sometimes be part of suppression motion as well. When a suppression motion is successful, the judge will prevent the evidence or information obtained from that evidence from being presented to a jury.
How do You get Evidence Thrown out of Court?
When your attorney discovers that your rights were violated in the course of a search or arrest, after which certain evidence was obtained, he or she will file a Motion to Suppress evidence. The motion will set out the particular evidence that should be excluded and why it should be omitted based on New Jersey criminal procedure laws.
Because suppression hearings occur most often in the context of searches, we will use that as an example to provide you with a better understanding of how it works. Every search that does not have a warrant is invalid unless it falls under some exception to the warrant requirement under New Jersey law. In a suppression hearing on a warrantless search, the State has the burden to show that the search falls under some type of exception to the rule that a search can only be conducted after obtaining a warrant.
If your attorney can show that police conducted the search without having one of the exceptions to the warrant requirement, then the judge may deem any evidence obtained during the search “fruit of the poisonous tree,” and thus, unusable when making the case against you. Often, this is because officers conducted a search without probable cause that a crime was being committed, was going to be committed, or that there was evidence of a crime in the location where they searched.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer can Help with Your Case in Morris County
A suppression hearing can be very helpful to your case. In some situations, it can force the State to drop the charges against you entirely because they do not have the evidence they need to convict you. However, successfully using a motion to get evidence excluded is a highly complex and challenging process, best left to an experienced NJ criminal defense attorney. A top-quality lawyer will know how to gather and present this information to position you for the best possible result. Learn more about how our skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyers may be able to use this defense to beat the charges you’re facing by contacting us today.