Motion Hearings - Motions to Suppress & Motions to Dismiss


An effective tool that defense attorneys often use in criminal proceedings are motions to suppress and motions to dismiss.  A successful motion could mean the difference between a criminal conviction and/or prison sentence and dropped or dismissed charges.  Even if they don't result in dropped or dismissed charges, they can drastically change the landscape of the case against you. 

What is a motion to suppress?

A motion to suppress is filed by a defense attorney when he or she has reason to believe that evidence was illegally obtained through an unlawful search or seizure. 
For example, in a DUI case, if the officer did not have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to stop and/or detain you, then any and all evidence that they obtained after the stop and/or detention could be thrown out, including the results of the field sobriety tests and breath, blood or urine results.  In a drug case, if the officer conducted an illegal search and found a controlled substance, the prosecutor could not use that controlled substance against you in court. 

What is a motion to dismiss? 

When there is a legal problem with the charges, a defense attorney can often file a motion to dismiss the charges.  For example, if the statute of limitations has run, the defense attorney can file a motion to dismiss.  If the prosecutor and defense attorney agree on all of the material facts, but they disagree on whether the person committed a crime, the defense attorney can file a motion to dismiss and have the judge determine whether a crime was committed.  For example, in a fraud case, both sides may agree on the facts, but do not agree on whether what the person did was fraud as defined under the law. 
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