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If the Evidence in Your Case Was Seized Illegally, it Still May Be Admissible in Court

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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If the police involved in your case obtained evidence illegally, you can file a motion to suppress that evidence. If the prosecutor feels the evidence is crucial to the case, that’s more reason to file a motion to suppress it. If you’re successful, the criminal charges against you may be dismissed; however, in some cases, the judge may allow the evidence to be presented in your trial.

Three Exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule

The exclusionary rule is a doctrine that prohibits any evidence obtained illegally by police to be admissible in court. If the police engaged in an unlawful search and seizure of evidence, failed to read your Miranda rights, or made errors in the chain of custody after obtaining evidence, the evidence in your case may be inadmissible. However, the judge could admit the evidence, even if the police acted illegally, for the following reasons:

  • Inevitable discovery. If the judge determines the evidence would likely have been recovered in a normal police investigation, the evidence may be admissible.
  • Good faith. If the police officer had every reason to believe he was operating within the law, the judge could overlook some procedural errors—such as if a search warrant was invalid on technical grounds—and allow the evidence to be presented.
  • Another independent source. If an independent source—other than the police who seized evidence illegally—would have provided the same evidence, the court could rule that the evidence is admissible. This rule is similar to the inevitable discovery exception.

An Attorney Can Help You With Your Illegal Seizure

If you were charged with a crime and believe the police violated the law in collecting evidence, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you. At Zimmer, Duncan & Cole, LLP, we will fight to have evidence suppressed and your charges dismissed. Start an online chat today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can assist you.


Category: Criminal Defense


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