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Last Updated on: 6th December 2023, 10:59 pm
How Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyers Can Suppress Illegally Obtained Evidence
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime in Long Island, New York, the deck is already stacked against you. The prosecution has seemingly endless resources and the full weight of the government behind them to secure a conviction. As bleak as your situation may seem, all hope is not lost – you still have rights guaranteed by the Constitution, and a good Long Island criminal defense lawyer can help protect those rights.
One of the most important rights in a criminal case is the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. This means the police need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a search or make an arrest. However, evidence is frequently obtained illegally in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Long Island criminal lawyers routinely file motions to suppress this type of evidence, and if successful, it can sink the prosecution’s case.
Types of Illegally Obtained Evidence
There are a few common categories of illegally obtained evidence that a skilled criminal defense lawyer may be able to get thrown out:
- Warrantless Searches – The police usually need a valid search warrant to search someone’s home, car, personal belongings, etc. But they often bypass this requirement, leading to illegal searches.
- Improper Interrogations – Forced or coerced confessions violate the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Subtle police interrogation tactics can cross the line into coercion.
- Unlawful Arrests – Police need probable cause to make an arrest – more than just a hunch of criminal activity. Arrests without solid probable cause render any subsequent evidence inadmissible.
- Un-Mirandized Statements – Suspects need to be informed of their rights per Miranda v. Arizona before custodial interrogation. Statements given pre-Miranda warning may be suppressed.
How Motions to Suppress Work
If the police obtain evidence illegally, a Long Island criminal defense attorney can file a motion to suppress that evidence so it cannot be used against you at trial. This involves legal arguments made in pretrial hearings requesting the judge prohibit the prosecution from introducing the contested evidence.
The burden is on the defense lawyer to show the search or seizure violated the defendant’s constitutional rights. If successful, the judge will suppress the evidence, often completely gutting the prosecution’s case. Without that evidence, the D.A. may be forced to reduce or even dismiss charges.
When Can Illegally Obtained Evidence Be Used?
However, there are some exceptions where tainted evidence is still admissible under the “good faith” exception or the “inevitable discovery” rule. For example:
- Police reasonably relied on an invalid search warrant
- Evidence would have been discovered through legal means
An experienced criminal lawyer can argue against these exceptions and highlight police misconduct. In many cases though, the exclusionary rule still blocks illegally seized evidence from trial.
Why Excluding Evidence is Vital
Beyond winning cases, motions to suppress also serve an important public policy purpose – deterring police misconduct and preserving constitutional rights for all citizens. As Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter explained:
“The history of American freedom is, in no small measure, the history of procedure.” — McNabb v. United States
The exclusionary rule removes incentives for the police to skirt search and seizure laws when gathering evidence. Lawyers suppressing illegally obtained evidence thus protects everyone’s Fourth Amendment freedoms against unreasonable searches.
Finding the Best Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyer
Facing criminal prosecution is scary, but illegally obtained evidence could be your ticket to freedom. An experienced Long Island defense lawyer can review the facts of your case to identify Fourth Amendment violations and file a motion to suppress if warranted.
Be sure to choose an attorney well-versed in New York and federal constitutional law – don’t leave your defense to chance. A skilled lawyer can tip the scales back in your favor by getting damning evidence thrown out. Regaining leverage over the prosecution is often the first domino in constructing a winning defense. Don’t hesitate to act now and contact a reputable Long Island criminal defense firm for a free case evaluation.