If you had to defend yourself against another person’s physical assault, law enforcement might suspect you were the aggressor in the incident and charge you with assault. Assault crimes can carry stiff penalties if a court convicts you. The possibility of jail time is why people facing assault charges avail themselves of possible defenses like a motion to suppress.
In a criminal trial, prosecutors will present evidence they believe supports their argument that you are guilty of a crime. However, you can try to have evidence excluded before it even reaches trial. The Cornell Law School explains how a motion to suppress works.
The exclusionary rule
The concept of the exclusionary rule comes from the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The police must acquire evidence without violating your constitutional rights. If an officer had committed an illegal search and seized evidence without respecting your rights, you can try to exclude that evidence with a motion to suppress.
Evidence may include a weapon or something else from your person, vehicle or home. In addition, the police may not have read you your Miranda rights before questioning you. It is possible to use a motion to suppress to exclude confessions or other statements the police obtained from you in violation of the Constitution’s right against self incrimination.
The basis for a motion to suppress
A motion to suppress may be successful if you base the argument on a violation of your constitutional rights. Additionally, a judge may accept your motion if based on a violation of the state constitution or a particular law that allows for the exclusion of certain evidence.
Even if you do not have a constitutional basis to seek suppression of evidence, you may still try to exclude evidence through a motion in limine. This motion excludes evidence that is irrelevant or prejudicial to your case. Whatever course of action you take will depend on the particular circumstances of your case.