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Criminal Defense Blog

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Unlawful search and seizure, suppression of evidence

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects your privacy. It is because of this Amendment that Missouri police must obtain a warrant before searching your vehicle, home, property or person. While there are times when the court may waive that requirement, in most cases, a warrantless search is a civil rights violation. If an unlawful search and seizure takes place, and there are criminal charges filed, the accused individual can challenge the evidence.

Perhaps police took you into custody after officers searched your vehicle without a warrant and confiscated items from the car. You may have stated that you did not consent to the search. If the items confiscated led to accusations against you for drug crimes, you may have grounds for asking the judge to rule that the evidence is inadmissible in court due to an unlawful search.

Other issues that may compel a suppression of evidence

In addition to unlawful search and seizure, there are numerous other reasons that would constitute grounds for filing a motion to suppress evidence in a drug crime case. The chain of custody of the evidence may have been flawed. This means that, if someone did not properly handle the evidence or document it correctly, a chain of custody error has occurred. When a chain of custody error occurs, the evidence in question is no longer credible.

Before police can interrogate you after making an arrest, they must issue a Miranda warning, which means that they must inform you of certain rights. If you do not receive this warning, then prosecutors may not use your statements (even a confession) as evidence in court.

Know your rights and how to defend them

If you are not aware of what Missouri police may or may not do during a drug crime investigation, you’ll have no way of knowing whether grounds exist to file a motion for suppression of evidence. The U.S. criminal justice system demands due diligence for every individual accused of a drug crime or other offense. If you wish to challenge a portion or all the evidence in a specific case, you must be prepared to prove why it should be inadmissible.

Penalties for drug crimes can be quite severe, including substantial fines and time behind bars. Remember that the outcome of your trial hinges, in part, on the evidence prosecutors submit to the court. Understanding your rights and being proactive may help mitigate your circumstances. If you can weaken the prosecutor’s case, you have a better chance of obtaining a positive outcome.