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What are the grounds for suppression of evidence in a criminal case in Texas?

Many criminal cases in Texas will involve evidence that has been seized from you either before, during, or after your arrest.  A motion to suppress evidence is one of the best tools a criminal defense attorney can use to defend against the charges you face.  Evidence that has been seized against you illegally must be excluded by the court, which could at times result in dismissal of the criminal charges.  However, winning a motion to suppress evidence will require meeting a heavy burden of proof.  Our West Texas criminal law attorneys discuss the basics of suppression motions in Texas and grounds for suppression below.

Exclusion of Illegally Seized Evidence

Our constitution protects Americans from the unlawful seizure of evidence.  Evidence is considered illegal when it has been seized in violation of one of your constitutional rights.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Wong Sun v. United States (1963) that evidence obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights should be excluded as a “fruit of the poisonous tree.”  Evidence that could potentially be excluded per a motion to suppress includes statements, physical evidence, and identifications.

Grounds for Filing a Motion to Suppress Evidence

Motion to suppress evidence are among the most frequently filed criminal motions, but most motions will be denied without strong legal footing.  Potential grounds for the suppression of evidence include:

  • Unlawful search and seizures:  The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects Americans against unlawful searches and seizures.  Before a police officer can search your person or property, he or she must either have a search warrant or probable cause, absent some exceptions.  If evidence is seized from you without probable cause, the court could grant a motion to suppress evidence.
  • Failure to provide full Miranda warnings:  Before an officer can subject you to questioning during which your statements may be used against you, the officer must read you your so-called Miranda rights.  Miranda rights inform a defendant that he or she has the right to remain silent, to retain the assistance of an attorney, and the right to obtain an attorney at no cost.  Statements obtained without a reading and waiver of your Miranda rights could be suppressed.

Texas is a tough on crime state and any criminal conviction could greatly impact your life.  Contact a criminal defense lawyer for assistance with bringing your strong defense against the charges you face as soon as possible.