In a criminal case, the accused is presumed not guilty until the prosecution proves otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt. What this generally means is that material proof in the form of evidence is required and must be strong enough to convince a jury that no reasonable person would doubt the guilt of the defendant.
As you can imagine, then, a considerable deal of significance is placed on what is admitted into evidence in a criminal trial and what is not. If you’ve been arrested and need criminal defense inFlorida, contact aFort Lauderdalecriminal defense firm and speak with an attorney who can evaluate your case.
Floridaand a number of other states have what’s known as an “exclusionary rule” which applies to all evidence that is obtained in such a manner that it is not lawfully admissible in court.
So, if the search of:
- a criminal suspect;
- a criminal suspect’s personal effects;
- a criminal suspect’s vehicle;
- a criminal suspect’s home; or
- a criminal suspect’s belongings turns up evidence that is held to be unreasonable, then that evidence in question will be excluded from the trial and proceedings.
History of the Exclusionary Rule in Federal and State Courts
The exclusionary rule can be traced back to the turn of the twentieth century, but most specifically 1914, when the United States Supreme Court heard the case of Weeks v.United Statesand determined that the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibited the use of evidence that had been obtained through a warrantless search in federal court cases.
Additionally, the due process protections afforded by the Fourteenth Amendment extended those prohibitions on evidence from a warrantless search to state courts.
In recent years, however, the court has specified that the rule exists to deter police misconduct, not to act as a panacea for all Fourth Amendment violations, and as a result, the application of the exclusionary rule has become somewhat more restricted and complex.
Evidence resulting from a warrantless search is sometimes referred to as “fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine” by legal professionals, a metaphor to show that anything that comes off the poisonous tree (a warrantless or unjustified search) is also tainted.
Suppressing Inadmissible Evidence
Your claim that the evidence used against you was the result of an unreasonable or unlawful search and seizure will generally be held in what’s called a motion to suppress hearing. This will be before the presiding judge and takes place before the trial begins in order to determine what, if any, evidence will be excluded from the trial proceedings.
If inadmissible evidence is being used against you or has been used against you to convict you of a crime, contact an attorney at aFort Lauderdalecriminal defense firm. Even if you’re unsure of the validity of the evidence against you, you should speak with an attorney and get a free consultation of your case.
When you’re facing a crime and your freedoms and privileges are at risk, you need reliable criminal defense.Floridacriminal statutes are sometimes complex and difficult to understand, so reach out to a lawyer who will explain your options to you and ensure that you understand what your choices are.