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What is a Motion to Suppress Evidence?

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A Motion to Suppress Evidence can be filed as part of an Omnibus Pretrial Motion in a criminal case where the defense seeks to have the court throw out certain evidence obtained as a result of an illegal search or seizure.

Omnibus Pretrial Motion

Pursuant to Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure 578 & 579, requests for pretrial relief for suppression of evidence, among other things, are generally to be filed in one omnibus motion within 30 days of formal arraignment, unless the opportunity did not otherwise exist or for good cause shown.

Two important take-aways can be drawn from these Rules:

  1. The law provides for pretrial relief where the defense may seek to suppress or exclude certain evidence from being used against a defendant at a later trial.
  2. A request for suppression of evidence due to an illegal search or seizure is time-sensitive and should be made within 30 days of formal arraignment absent an enumerated exception.

Due to the time-sensitive requirements and legal implications, it is imperative to consult with an experienced professional at the inception of a criminal investigation or upon the filing of criminal charges in order to adequately prepare you case for a potential motion to suppress evidence.

Suppression of Evidence

Suppression (or the exclusion) of Evidence is the objective sought when filing an Omnibus Pretrial Motion to Suppress Evidence.

Most often, a Motion to Suppress is based upon a violation of a person's right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.  Factually, these violations could occur incident to a traffic stop, roadside detention, or search of a person, vehicle, or home.  Additionally, suppression issues may be raised in cases with charges ranging from drug crimes to DUI to assault to theft to murder.

However, suppression of evidence is not limited to these areas.  Issues may arise incident to a police interrogation where a persons right to remain silent or right to counsel may be implicated, among other things.

Once an Omnibus Pretrial Motion to Suppress Evidence is filed, a hearing will be scheduled.  At the time of the Suppression Hearing, the judge will hear the evidence and issue a decision granting or denying suppression of the evidence.

Know Your Rights. Take Control. Restore Your Life. 

Knowledge is power.  If you don't know that you have certain rights, how can you ever be expected to assert them?  Of course, how you assert such rights is another matter.

The journey through the criminal justice system is not one a person should make alone regardless of breadth of their legal knowledge.  Instead, you should align yourself with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights, defend your freedom, and restore your life.

Once charges are filed against you, there is very little you control.  However, the one thing you do control may be the most important factor that will impact the outcome of your case: the attorney you choose to lead you.

Securing qualified legal counsel at the earliest stage beginning with your Preliminary Hearing can pay dividends for your case long-term.  (To learn more about a Preliminary Hearing in Pennsylvania, read "3 Things You Need to Know About a Preliminary Hearing".)  It will enable your criminal defense lawyer to begin to build a record of testimony in anticipation of suppression and develop a personal defense strategy that will be most advantageous to you.

If you have been accused of a crime, contact an experienced professional at Shawn Curry Law today:  717-525-8733.

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About the Author:

Criminal Defense Attorney Shawn M. Curry is an experienced professional committed to helping people accused for crimes protect their rights, defend their freedom, and restore their life.  With over 8 years of experience, his practice is exclusively devoted to Criminal & DUI Defense.  As a solo practitioner, he has purposefully positioned himself to provide personalized focus and attention to the people he helps.

(The image above is for illustrative purposes only.  It is not intended to depict a real case or person.)

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