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Will a “motion to suppress” be part of your defense strategy?

On Behalf of | May 6, 2024 | Criminal defense |

If you have been charged with a crime in Virginia, the path toward crafting your criminal defense strategy will be unique to the facts and allegations in your case. But, oftentimes, criminal cases are resolved far before they ever go to trial. In some cases, a defense strategy involves the use of a “motion to suppress” by criminal defendants.

Motion to suppress overview

So, will a motion to suppress be part of your defense strategy? As with most legal questions, the immediate answer to that question is likely to be “it depends.” A motion to suppress is a filing with the court that alleges that certain evidence that the prosecution plans to use in the case should not be allowed to be presented. It short, it is a motion to get certain evidence “thrown out.” But why?

A motion to suppress is usually based on an allegation by a defendant of the violation of certain constitutional or statutory rights by law enforcement or the prosecution. For example, the Fourth Amendment protects defendants from “unreasonable search and seizure.”

In practical effect, if a law enforcement official uncovers potential evidence through an illegal search or seizure, this could mean that the evidence cannot be used in the criminal prosecution of the defendant.

Or, if, for example, a defendant makes some kind of confession without having been made aware of the right to remain silent, that could also be the basis for a motion to suppress.

When facing a criminal charge, defendants must consider all of their options. Pre-trial motions like a motion to suppress could be a path toward weakening the prosecution’s case – or getting it dismissed altogether.