What is a Motion to Exclude in Philadelphia?
A Motion to Exclude Evidence, or Motion to Suppress, is a request made by a defendant for the court to exclude certain evidence from a trial. It is a pretrial motion, heard and decided by a judge.
In a criminal trial in PA, the prosecution must prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. It tries to do this by presenting evidence to the jury. If successful, a Motion to Exclude prevents the prosecution from relying on a particular piece of evidence at trial.
In a Motion to Exclude, the defendant argues that one or more of their constitutional rights have been violated and that the prosecution shouldn't be allowed to rely on any evidence obtained as a result of the violation.
A Motion in Limine is another pretrial motion a defendant can use to try and exclude evidence from a trial. However, Motions in Limine are concerned with the nature of the evidence itself, rather than how it was obtained.
In a Motion in Limine, a defendant asks the court to exclude highly prejudicial evidence (for example, the defendant's criminal history) or evidence that violates the rules of evidence.
An experienced, seasoned attorney in PA will know what to file in your particular circumstance. You should call D'Intino Law Firm LLC today to learn more and find out how we can assist you. Call 267-491-9111 or fill out an online contact form to schedule your free consultation today.
Reasons to File a Motion to Exclude in Philadelphia
There are several reasons why a defendant may file a Motion to Exclude Evidence.
Illegally Obtained Evidence
Illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in criminal proceedings. For this reason, Motions to Exclude are often used to challenge evidence obtained during an unlawful search and seizure.
For example, a Motion to Exclude may argue that a search warrant was improperly obtained.
A Motion to Exclude Evidence may be used to prevent the jury hearing any admissions the defendant made to police, where the police failed to read the defendant their Miranda Rights (“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court…”).
Improperly handled evidence
There are strict rules around the handling of evidence to ensure it isn't tampered with or interfered with. If authorities fail to follow the correct procedures, a defendant may file a motion asking the court to exclude the related evidence.
This often happens when evidence samples were incorrectly labeled or a piece of evidence goes missing for some time.
How can a defense attorney in Philadelphia use a Motion to Exclude strategically?
Not only can a successful Motion to Exclude prevent unlawfully obtained evidence from being used against you at trial, but it can also significantly change the strength or nature of the case against you. This may allow your attorney to negotiate a favorable plea bargain on your behalf or even lead to the charge being dismissed by the court or dropped by the prosecution.
This is why it's essential to engage an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case. They can assess the evidence the prosecution intends to rely on and advise you if you should file a Motion to Exclude as part of your defense. The attorneys at D'Intino Law Firm LLC are ready to discuss your case and craft a defense that gives you the best outcome. Call 267-491-9111 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.