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How to challenge evidence used against an accused individual

Individuals who have been accused of, and charged with, a crime may have concerns about the evidence being used against them. In such circumstances, it is important to be familiar with criminal defense rights to determine if alleged evidence against the accused party was collected illegally or in violation of those rights and is then inadmissible against the accused individual.

The legal process of excluding certain evidence, or 'suppressing' it, begins with a request to the court sometimes known as a 'motion to suppress evidence.' The judge will rule if the evidence is admissible and can be used against the accused individual. Evidence being used against an accused individual must be relevant and legally, properly and competently collected. Because so much is on the line when criminal charges are involved, it is important to understand why evidence may be excluded and the process for excluding evidence.

In addition to the possible exclusion of evidence illegally obtained, evidence that is collected as a result of an illegal search or violation of the accused individual's constitutional rights may also be excluded. Evidence, testimony and confessions all may be excluded if they were illegally or improperly obtained by authorities. When an illegal search and seizure has taken place, when police have failed to read Miranda warnings or there have been errors in the chain of custody, evidence being used against the accused individual may be excluded.

Individuals accused of crimes have a variety of constitutional protections it is important to be aware of. It is also useful to know how to protect and enforce one's rights. Understanding the criminal defense process is essential for any individual that has been accused of a crime.

Source:, "How to Suppress Evidence," Accessed Oct. 3, 2016

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