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Motions to Suppress: Getting Evidence Excluded

Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC July 8, 2024

Expungement written on a document and gavel on tableIn the legal world, evidence can make or break a case. But what if you could make certain evidence vanish? That's where motions to suppress come into play. These powerful legal tools can help exclude evidence that was improperly obtained.  

At Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC, we believe everyone deserves a fair trial, and understanding how to use motions to suppress is key to achieving that. 

What Is a Motion to Suppress? 

A motion to suppress is a request made by a defendant asking the court to exclude certain evidence from being presented at trial. This request is usually based on the claim that the evidence was obtained in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights.  

This could include situations where the evidence was obtained through an illegal search or seizure, or if the defendant's rights against self-incrimination were violated during the collection of the evidence. 

A motion to suppress ensures that only admissible and legally obtained evidence is presented at trial. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement.  

By filing a motion to suppress, a defendant is asserting their constitutional rights and asking the court to exclude any evidence that was obtained in violation of those rights. 

Motions to suppress are crucial because they protect your constitutional rights. If evidence was obtained illegally, it should not be used against you. They ensure that law enforcement follows the rules, maintaining the integrity of the judicial system. 

You can file a motion to suppress before your trial begins. Act quickly, as filing deadlines vary by jurisdiction. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help you determine the best time to file. 

Grounds for Filing a Motion to Suppress 

There are several reasons to justify a motion to suppress.  

Illegal Search and Seizure 

If law enforcement conducted a search without a warrant or probable cause, any evidence found could be deemed inadmissible. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

Miranda Rights Violations 

If you were not read your Miranda rights during an arrest, any statements you made might not be admissible. These rights include the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney. 

Improperly Conducted Lineups 

Lineups must be conducted fairly. If law enforcement used suggestive methods to identify you, the identification may be excluded. 

Coerced Confessions 

Confessions obtained through coercion, whether through physical force, threats, or psychological pressure, are inadmissible in court. The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from self-incrimination through forced confessions. If a confession was not given voluntarily, it can be suppressed. 

Lack of Probable Cause 

Even if a search warrant was issued, it must be based on probable cause. If the warrant was issued without sufficient evidence to justify the search, any evidence obtained can be suppressed. The absence of probable cause violates the Fourth Amendment. 

Chain of Custody Errors 

For evidence to be admissible, it must be properly handled and documented from the time it is collected until it is presented in court. Any breaks or errors in the chain of custody can lead to contamination or questions about the evidence's integrity. Such evidence can be challenged and potentially suppressed. 


Entrapment occurs when law enforcement induces a person to commit a crime they would not have otherwise committed. If it can be demonstrated that the defendant was coerced or manipulated into illegal activity by law enforcement, the resulting evidence might be suppressed. 

Unreliable Witness Testimony 

If a witness provides testimony that can be proven unreliable, whether due to inconsistencies, biases, or external influence, it could result in the suppression of that testimony. Ensuring the credibility of witness accounts is crucial for a fair trial. 

Technical Violations in Surveillance 

Surveillance activities, such as wiretaps or electronic monitoring, must follow strict legal protocols. Any technical violations in obtaining or implementing these surveillance methods can suppress gathered evidence. 

How to File a Motion to Suppress 

Filing a motion to suppress involves several steps. Knowing the process can help you prepare for what's ahead. 

  • Gathering evidence: Before filing the motion, your attorney will gather all necessary evidence to support the claims made in the motion. This may include obtaining police reports, surveillance footage, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation that can prove the evidence in question was obtained unlawfully. 

  • Drafting the motion: Your attorney will draft a written motion outlining the specific reasons why the evidence should be suppressed. This document will include legal arguments and references to case law. 

  • Submitting the motion: The prosecution will have an opportunity to respond to the motion's arguments. 

  • The suppression hearing: A suppression hearing is held, during which both sides present their arguments. Witnesses may be called, and evidence will be reviewed. The judge will then decide whether to grant or deny the motion. 

  • Preparing witnesses: If witnesses are essential to support the motion, your attorney will prepare them for the suppression hearing. This includes reviewing their statements, discussing potential questions from the prosecution, and ensuring they understand the importance of their testimony in challenging the admissibility of the evidence. 

  • Reviewing legal precedents: Your attorney will research and reference relevant legal precedents that support your motion. By identifying similar cases where evidence was successfully suppressed, they can strengthen your argument and provide the court with a solid legal foundation for excluding the contested evidence. 

  • Negotiating with the prosecution: Your attorney might engage in negotiations with the prosecution before the suppression hearing. These discussions could convince the prosecution to exclude certain evidence, potentially avoiding the need for a hearing altogether. 

  • Filing supporting documents: These are supplemental documents such as affidavits from witnesses, expert opinions, and other material evidence that bolster your claim for suppression. 

Evidence Suppression in Maryland 

Being aware of evidence suppression laws and precedents in Maryland could make a significant difference in your case. 

For instance, Maryland follows the exclusionary rule, which is rooted in both federal and state law and bars the use of evidence obtained in violation of a defendant's constitutional rights. 

In Addition, several Maryland cases have set precedents for motions to suppress. For example, Myers v. State clarified the requirements for probable cause in searches. 

Contact Our Attorneys in Rockville, Maryland 

Farrokh Mohammadi and Asim Humayun are experienced attorneys who founded Mohammadi & Humayun Attorneys at Law. Farrokh specializes in family and personal injury law, while Asim focuses on criminal defense and personal injury law. Both attorneys provide individualized attention to their clients and fight for their rights. 

 If you believe your case involves evidence that should be suppressed, reach out to Mohammadi & Humayun, LLC. We will help you every step of the way.