You might already have some inkling about how suppressing evidence can help you. In some cases, it could be your only hope that the court is coming back with a “Not Guilty” verdict. However, there are rules when it comes to asking the judge to suppress evidence. And, an experienced defense attorney will employ them when it seems appropriate.
First, let’s start with the basics. What exactly does suppression of evidence mean from a legal standpoint? Quite simply, it begins with a determination that the evidence was obtained illegally or came up during a search and seizure executed in violation of the law.
For example, there are many times that the police are required to secure a warrant when conducting a search of your home or automobile. By the same token, you could be stopped for driving while under the influence and requested to consent to a blood or urine test. If you do not agree, law enforcement officials are expected to obtain a warrant.
In preparing your defense, your lawyer will investigate the circumstances and decide that evidence inappropriately obtained. The motion to suppress asks the court to throw out the illegally secured evidence. Without it, the case against you may even be dismissed.
Suppressing Evidence: The Law
The New Jersey Court Rules provide direction regarding search warrants. Additionally, Rule 7:5-2 provides the formal procedure for filing a motion to suppress evidence. Defense counsel will file the motion before your trial even begins. Therefore, if evidence is suppressed, it will not become part of the trial process.
In jurisdictions such as Elizabeth, where there is more than one municipal judge – the judge who hears the suppression motion will be different than the one who presides over the trial. Otherwise, a judge from another municipality may preside over the suppression motion.
The grounds to make a motion for suppression of evidence are case specific. However, here are some examples where defendants have attempted to exclude evidence from trial:
- Claim that law enforcement officials failed to read Miranda rights
- Issues with chain of custody following transfer of evidence
- Search and seizure laws – may include failure to obtain warrant before search
Like the rest of the country, New Jersey residents are entitled to fairness. Police are expected to know and follow the rules when securing evidence intended to prove their case.
Are you facing charges in municipal court? The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo represents individuals for a number of municipal court offenses, including DWI, simple assault, and harassment. Contact our office to see how we can assist you.