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Can I Get Evidence Tossed out and Have My Case Dismissed?

A prisoner getting handed the keys to his cell

If you have been stopped or arrested and evidence has been seized as a result of the stop or arrest, you are entitled to a suppression hearing to determine whether the evidence was properly seized. In many cases, a law enforcement officer will improperly seize evidence after a warrantless stop, detention or arrest, without reasonable suspicion or probable cause. Before trial, you may file a motion to suppress evidence.

What Is a Motion to Suppress Evidence?

A motion is a request made to a judge. A motion to suppress evidence is a request to toss out or suppress evidence illegally obtained by the police.

What Does Suppress Mean?

Suppress means to exclude or prevent disclosure of evidence during a criminal trial when a party can show that the evidence was illegally obtained. For example, if a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation and asks you to get out of the car and then searches the car, without a legitimate reason, any evidence located in the car would be illegally obtained and subject to suppression, which means that the judge would be required to toss it out.

Any evidence obtained as a result of an illegal stop, detention, or arrest, without probable cause, must be suppressed pursuant to the United States and Florida Constitutions. ‘The people have a right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.’ US Constitution, Fourth Amendment.

What Is a Police-Citizen Encounter?

A police officer may detain a citizen temporarily if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. Mere suspicion is not enough to support a stop. An arrest must be supported by probable cause that a crime has been or is being committed. As a general rule, an encounter between a police officer and a citizen becomes an investigative stop when a citizen is not free to leave. When a law enforcement officer detains a citizen, without reasonable suspicion, or probable cause to arrest, the detention is invalid. When initial detention or arrest is invalid, all that flows from the illegal detention or arrest is also invalid. In other words, any evidence obtained after invalid detention or arrest is illegally obtained and must be suppressed. United States citizens are guaranteed the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.

What Kind of Evidence Can Be Suppressed?

Evidence unlawfully obtained, in violation of your constitutional rights, is subject to suppression. Some examples of evidence that can be tossed out are:

  • Tangible physical evidence – weapons, drugs or drug paraphernalia, clothing, stolen property;
  • Testimonial evidence – statements made by you to the police, including an alleged confession, or statements overheard by the police or secretly recorded while you are in the back of a police vehicle.

What Happens If I Win the Motion to Suppress?

If you have been illegally stopped or searched, you may be entitled to have any evidence seized as a result of that stop or search thrown out, and the case dismissed. If the State cannot show that the evidence was lawfully seized, you may be entitled to suppression of the evidence and dismissal of the charges. For example, if the police illegally seize evidence, such as drugs, and arrest you for possession of those drugs, a judge will probably suppress or toss out those drugs. If the judge tosses out the drugs, the State will have no evidence. If the State has no evidence, it must drop the charges or the judge will dismiss the case.

What Happens If I Lose the Motion to Suppress?

If the judge does not grant the motion to suppress, the case will move forward. However, even if you lose the motion to suppress, the process can give your criminal defense attorney an opportunity to learn more about the State’s case. If you ultimately reach a plea agreement, or if you get convicted after a trial, you will have the right to appeal the judge’s decision denying your motion to suppress. Occasionally, an appeals court reverses a judge’s denial of a motion to suppress, and again, the State will have no evidence so they must drop the charges.

If you or a loved one have been stopped or arrested and evidence has been seized as a result of the stop or arrest, you are entitled to a suppression hearing to determine whether the evidence was properly seized. You can file a motion to suppress evidence. Contact a criminal defense lawyer and request a suppression hearing. The attorneys at Fernandez and Hernandez have experience with suppression hearings and will work vigorously to get the evidence thrown out and the case dismissed.

If you need legal assistance with a suppression hearing, call Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Daniel J. Fernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813 229-5353.

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez

Daniel J. Fernandez defends individuals charged with a misdemeanor and felony criminal offenses throughout the Tampa Bay area and the State of Florida. With more than 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney and hundreds of jury trials, Daniel earned tremendous accolades from judges, other lawyers, defendants, and even jurors. Daniel started his legal career as a state prosecutor and became the chief of the Narcotics division before opening his own law practice in 1985.

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Irene Meadows
Irene Meadows
21:56 11 Dec 19
If you need an attorney who is compassionate, knowledgeable and will be there every step of the way for you and your family during a difficult and challenging time in your life, you have made the right decision with Daniel Fernandez and his staff. Mr. Daniel Fernandez and his staff treat you like a member of their family. My husband and I would highly recommend you contact the law office of Daniel J. Fernandez. You will be glad you did.read more
A Google User
A Google User
14:27 11 Dec 19
Great Experience, attorney Daniel J Fernandez was extremely kind, and explained everything in great detail. The staff at the office was excellent! Great experience would recommend the attorney to anyone.read more
Luella Nelson
Luella Nelson
23:30 10 Dec 19
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Joe Blanco
Joe Blanco
01:48 07 Dec 19
Daniel Fernandez is by far the best criminal defense attorney in the Tampa Bay area. I have used Mr. Fernandez for several years to help my son with several issues he has faced. He compassionate, informative, and reliable. If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer I highly recommend you to hire Mr. Fernandezread more
Anjeanette Blanco
Anjeanette Blanco
22:37 06 Dec 19
Daniel J. Fernandez has been my lawyer for 25 years and he is amazing! He is always available when needed and goes above beyond. His entire office staff is always friendly and helpful. I highly recommend Mr. Fernandez.read more
Nicole Tarantelli
Nicole Tarantelli
17:36 02 Dec 19
I am so pleased with the experience I had with everyone in their office. The service was excellent! Everyone was kind and patient. I mostly dealt with Austin. He did everything he said and always returned my calls the same day. I am incredibly grateful for all the hard work!read more
Cheryl Stinson
Cheryl Stinson
14:41 22 Nov 19
Daniel Fernandez represented us in a violation of probation in dade city'. He did a great job. Judge was going to sentence my friend to one year in jail .Mr. Fernandez argued for 60 days and hot the court down to 70 days .thank you for your help Mr.Fernandezread more
gilbert Lozada
gilbert Lozada
18:23 01 Nov 19
Great work Mr. Daniel J Fernandez he is very knowledgeable as a defense attorney I will Highly recommended his services to anyone.Thank youread more
stephanie santiago
stephanie santiago
18:13 21 Oct 19
Im so pleased with Daniel Fernandez. He was able to get my husbands case to go better than what we thought it was. Thank you so muchread more
Jose Rodriguez
Jose Rodriguez
13:39 25 Sep 19
I don't have enough words to describe how amazing the experience with attorney Fernandez was. I could not have asked for better services. Attorney Fernandez was very professional throughout the legal process which resulted in a positive outcome. Thank you again attorney Fernandez for giving my family and me peace of mind.read more
Genesis Padilla
Genesis Padilla
04:22 12 Sep 19
Mr. Fernandez was absolutely amazing with our family’s case. Very genuine and intelligent. Austin was a pleasure to work with as well. We had a great experience overall, we were blown away by what he was able to accomplish so quickly.read more
Alex Gomez
Alex Gomez
15:13 14 Aug 19
I'm very satisfied with the services provided from Mr. Daniel J Fernandez. I was in a bad situation and contacted his firm. They were very professional and informative. They're very knowledgeable in the law and great at what they do. I would recommend them to everyone I know without hesitation. Mr. Fernandez and his firm are the real deal. Once again thank you.read more
D Serano
D Serano
01:21 18 Jul 19
Daniel Fernandez is an amazing lawyer! I have used a few times for a family member and I highly recommend! He knows his stuff, hes aggressive, a fighter, not afraid to try any case that comes his way!! He is honest and let’s you know what to expect from the moment you hire and until the case in closed!read more
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