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Nashville suppression of evidence attorney

Posted May 9, 2016Lee Martin - Drug Cases

Nashville suppression of evidence attorney

Nashville criminal defense attorney Lee Martin explains the “ins and outs” of suppression of evidence in Tennessee criminal cases.  The suppression of evidence in a criminal case is a critical issue that could result in a criminal charge either being dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge.  The police collect and preserve evidence in nearly every criminal prosecution.  This evidence can be obtained in a variety of ways ranging from search warrants, wiretaps, videos, photos, and confessions.  This evidence should be scrutinized and challenged when appropriate.  Evidence can be suppressed when a judge decides that the evidence was obtained in an illegal manner.  This is commonly known as the exclusionary rule.  This is an area of criminal defense that is often overlooked.

Under Tennessee law, the exclusionary rule is governed by Tennessee Code Annotated Section 50-4-108.  The sections provides for the suppression of evidence when it is illegally obtained.  This statute provides as follows:

  • A person may move to suppress evidence or any information received by an unlawful inspection of a premise named in a search warrant.
  • The person may challenge the evidence at both judicial and administrative hearings.
  • They aggrieved person may also move for the return of any item seized.
  • The court or agency shall suppress any evidence obtained from an unlawful inspection (search).
  • The court shall return any property seized as a result of an unlawful inspection.

Other types of evidence can be suppressed as a result of an unlawful search.  The doctrine is known as the “fruits of the poisonous tree”.  The doctrine states that any additional evidence discovered as a result of an illegal search is also excluded at trial.  When a police officer illegally searches an automobile and finds illegal drugs, the drugs cannot be used as evidence in a subsequent trial.  In summary, the illegal search is the poisonous tree and the drugs are the fruit of that tree. 

Despite this doctrine, there are exceptions when evidence is illegally seized.  These exceptions are:

  • Good faith is the most common exception. This occurs when the officer discovers evidence but was acting in good faith.  This usually happens when a search warrant is used.  The search warrant may be defective for a technical reason but is otherwise valid.  This is a no harm no foul type rule.
  • Inevitable discovery means that the police officer would have inevitably found the evidence, with or without an illegal search.
  • Independence source happens when the evidence seized involved a combination of legal and illegal means but the evidence could have been discovered by a reliable independent source.
  • Attenuation involves the connection between the illegal search and the evidence seized. The evidence may be considered untainted when the link between illegal search and evidence seized is weak.

The legal process does not have to be intimidating and I work hard to make sure my clients get optimum results in their criminal cases.  I also work hard to make sure my clients are put at ease and informed of all their rights and options.  Please do not go to court alone and assume the truth will win out.  It seldom does.  Call today at 615-345-1988.  I will be happy to discuss all of your options in dealing with your Nashville misdemeanor charges.

I help good people restore their lives

-Lee Martin is a nationally recognized DUI and criminal defense attorney.  He provides premier legal services by limiting his caseload exclusively to DUI and criminal matters.  Lee knows how to build a solid defense strategy for your upcoming court date.  Let Lee Martin be your choose as your Nashville area criminal defense lawyer.   If you have pending charges, give him a call at 615-345-1988.

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