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Can you exclude certain evidence from your criminal trial?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2023 | Criminal Defense

The best response to pending criminal charges will depend on the allegations made by the state and the evidence the prosecutor has. The stronger the evidence connecting you to criminal activity, the harder it may become to mount a successful defense. Your right to access information about the prosecutor’s evidence can play a major role in how you prepare your defense strategy.

Many people accused of a crime will first seek to prevent the inclusion of certain evidence in the case against them before taking other actions. A criminal defense attorney can occasionally convince a criminal judge that certain evidence should not be part of your trial. The more evidence the courts prevent the prosecutor from preventing, the harder it will be for them to build their case.

When can a lawyer potentially invoke the so-called exclusionary rule in criminal court?

Police misconduct can invalidate evidence

Lawyers know that they can sometimes invoke the exclusionary rule when they have evidence that police officers somehow violated the law. Perhaps a traffic stop that led to a drug arrest started originally because of inappropriate racial profiling. Perhaps police officers did not inform someone in state custody of their Miranda rights and then bullied them into confessing.

There are numerous circumstances that might justify a lawyer challenging the inclusion of evidence. Anytime police officers violate someone’s rights or break the law in an attempt to gather evidence, the evidence they gathered could end up excluded from criminal proceedings by the exclusionary rule.

You can also undermine the evidence

In cases where you can’t prevent the prosecutor from presenting certain evidence, you could absolutely raise questions about how they interpreted, tested or stored that evidence. Issues with the chain of custody for physical evidence or questions about forensic practices could help you create the reasonable doubt you require to avoid a criminal conviction.

Some defendants bring in their independent expert witnesses to present an alternate evaluation of the evidence. Others might challenge the science used to gather, process or analyze the evidence. The police department may have deviated from best practices, which could undermine how convincing and useful their evidence is.

Learning more about how people address evidence in their criminal defense strategies can help you determine how you want to handle your case in court.