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What Is the Process for Filing a Motion to Suppress Evidence?


What we typically do as part of the process for filing a motion to suppress evidence is have somewhat of a boiler plate motion, which has all the case law. It’ll include some of the facts of the case, what the client was arrested for, and some of the observations of the officer which led to them stopping them. It will then be requesting that the court suppress the evidence in the case based on an illegal search and seizure. These motions are anywhere from 8 to 25 pages. Some are much longer if they are claiming more complex issues in regards to blood testing. In regards to admonitions that are given, there’s been a lot of new case law on this. It’s constantly changing. These motions are getting more and more interesting. Basically, I file the motion either in the court or in the clerk’s office, serve the other side with the motion, a day is set and we will have the motion heard either on that date or if it gets continued on a later date.

Typically, the client needs to be there for the motion unless we are able to waive their presence and stipulate to their identification. Typically we’ll have the client present because they were the one who was there the night or the day of the stop. Often they can give us valuable information that maybe they’ll think of something when they hear an officer talking that we don’t know about or wouldn’t have any idea about because we were not there when the stop was made.

When and Where Does the Hearing for the Motion to Suppress Evidence Take Place?

The motion to suppress would take place in a courtroom, whether it’s a master calendar courtroom or another courtroom where the case is assigned out to for another judge to hear and that hearing would take place. There would be a judge, a prosecutor, and myself as the defense attorney. The client would typically be there or there may be some other attorneys in the courtroom waiting to have their motions or whatever going on heard. Typically, the motion would take place about a month or two after the filing of the motion. The decision for the motion would come either typically right away, sometimes in under submission. A judge may want to review a video more and they may issue a ruling at a later time. In almost every case, we get a ruling that same day. At the end of the motion, after the evidence has been presented, we do a summation of the evidence. Each side gets to do a short summation.

Is The Jury Ever Aware That Certain Evidence Has Been Suppressed?

In terms of whether the jury is ever aware that certain evidence has been suppressed, it depends. Most of the time, most of the jury trials I’ve had are situations where there has not been evidence suppressed. If it was suppressed then we’re not going to be going to a jury trial. Depending on the judge and how they would admonish a jury and let them know they would say, “Do not consider this or that”, which may be evidence that was suppressed. They won’t necessarily tell them that its evidence that was suppressed and they’ll tell them don’t consider it, don’t try and figure out why it’s here or not, that’s not part of your job as a juror.

If a Motion to Suppress Evidence Is Successful, Could That Mean a Dismissal of My Case?

Absolutely, if a motion to suppress evidence is successful it could mean a dismissal of the case; that’s what we’re shooting for in these motions to suppress. In any court in the San Francisco Bay area, whether it be Marin County, Sonoma County, Napa, Alameda, Contra Costa, or any of these counties, Santa Clara, San Matteo, or San Francisco, all these counties are places where judges have granted motions to suppress. Depending on what we’re trying to suppress, it could make a case completely go away or maybe we’re just trying to suppress the blood results from the blood draw based on the way it was done or based on the procedures or an admonishment. In that case, we may get just part of the evidence suppressed, which could lead a prosecutor or DA’s office to dismiss the case. The case most likely to get dismissed is where the motion to suppress is granted based on the illegality of the stop. That means that everything after the stop would most likely not be allowed to come into evidence to be suppressed and therefore the DA would have basically no choice other than to dismiss the charges.

Additional Information on Motion to Suppress Evidence In California

When you are looking for a lawyer to fight your case and it’s a DUI case, you want to make sure that you get a seasoned DUI lawyer who does mainly DUI law, who is very familiar with these motions in these courts and has won motions to suppress before. Motions are not easy and they involve a lot. It’s kind of a mini-trial without a lot of things, but a lot of skill is needed and a lot of hard work goes into them. Sometimes these motions, just by bringing them, can result in evidence coming up. I’ve got one going on right now where we haven’t even had the motion yet and the prosecutor’s now having doubt as to whether or not the procedures were followed. They might even dismiss this case without having to take testimony in court.

Just by bringing the motion on, especially these days with all the issues going on with the blood testing and then different case law coming from different courts and the admonitions and the confusion, it’s a good time to be bringing motions right now especially in the San Francisco Bay area in California.

For more information on Process of Filing Motion to Suppress Evidence, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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