Riverside Criminal Defense Attorney

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How the exclusionary rule may lead to dropped criminal charges

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Many people accused of criminal offenses assert their innocence. However, they may not feel confident about taking the matter to trial. The best possible outcome for many people facing pending charges is the dismissal of the case against them.

Sometimes, a judge or the prosecutor might make the decision to dismiss the legal case against an individual. There are a variety of factors that play into that decision. One of the most important is the state’s ability to prove its case. A prosecutor needs evidence that is strong enough to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant broke the law.

In some cases, challenging certain evidence could be enough to lead to the dismissal of a pending criminal charge. The exclusionary rule is an important form of protection that sometimes leads to dismissed criminal cases.

How the exclusionary rule works

The Fourth Amendment is a very valuable protection for those facing criminal charges. Under the Fourth Amendment, those in the United States of America have protection from unreasonable searches and property seizures.

Police officers need a justification or permission to conduct a search. They also have to follow certain rules when questioning individuals. Violations of those rules could lead to a defense attorney invoking the exclusionary rule in court. If there is proof that the state violated the rights of an individual or broke the law to gather evidence, then the courts can exclude that evidence from criminal proceedings.

How the exclusionary rule helps

In many cases, the entire basis for criminal charges relates to a single encounter with police officers. Someone questioned for hours without first receiving the Miranda warning may contradict themselves or make a statement that seems like a confession.

The failure to provide them with the Miranda warning could lead to the courts excluding the confession or contradictory statements from criminal proceedings. If police officers pull someone over without justification for the traffic stop, any evidence obtained during that improper stop might not be eligible for use in court.

In cases where a defense attorney successfully excludes certain evidence from a trial, the prosecutor may have to make the decision to dismiss the charges. If they don’t have enough evidence to prove the charges brought against the defendant, they may be unable to pursue the case at all.

Those who suspect that investigators or police officers have violated their rights may need help reviewing the situation with the guidance of an experienced legal team. Excluding evidence can be a key aspect of a criminal defense strategy. A lawyer showing that the state broke the rules may be able to compromise the government’s ability to prosecute someone successfully.