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When is evidence inadmissible in a person’s criminal case?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a criminal offense, you may feel like all of your rights have been taken away. That’s not the case. You have a number of rights, but you can’t be expected to know all of them. That’s where having legal representation can make all the difference.

Here, we’re going to look at a couple of things that authorities may do before, during and after an arrest that can make evidence obtained inadmissible. If it is, you may be able to get it suppressed. A judge has to approve a motion to suppress evidence, so you need to show why it shouldn’t be presented to a jury or otherwise used in your case.

Illegal searches or seizures

One of the most common reasons for evidence suppression is that it was illegally obtained. For example, if police searched an area of your home that wasn’t listed on the search warrant, anything they found there can be deemed inadmissible. 

In addition to that, any evidence obtained from an illegal search or other violation of your rights may be considered inadmissible because it’s “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Using the example above, say the search of an area not included in the warrant yielded some illegal drugs and the name and phone number of someone police believed to be a dealer. If they show up at that person’s house and that person confesses to criminal activity and implicates you, that’s fruit of the poisonous tree because it stemmed from an illegal search.

Failure to Mirandize

Most people know that police must read them their Miranda rights at some point in the arrest process, but they often aren’t sure when that is. Under the law, people have to be read their rights before they’re interrogated if they’re under arrest or in custody. If an officer stops you on the street and starts asking questions, but you’re free to leave, you don’t have to be read your rights.

If a person wasn’t Mirandized as required, however, anything they say to authorities after the point where they should have been Mirandized – including an outright confession – can be suppressed.

Other violations of a suspect’s rights as well as irregularities in how an arrest was handled can also be grounds for evidence to be suppressed. Having experienced legal guidance can help you protect your rights – like not having evidence wrongly used against you.