What Is The Process In A Hearing For A Motion To Suppress Evidence?
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Most DWI cases begin with a warrantless motor vehicle stop followed by an arrest. Because these seizures are not supported by a warrant, a defense attorney should file a motion to suppress evidence challenging the reasonableness of the stop and the probable cause for the arrest. Once the motion is filed, a hearing would occur in the municipal court, and the prosecutor bears the burden of establishing the reasonableness of the stop and the probable cause to arrest by preponderance evidence. The parties may or may not give opening statements. The prosecution then introduces the testimony of the officers involved. The prosecutor or defense attorney may also offer dash-cam or body-cam video and any other evidence they consider relevant. Through his or her attorney, the defendant then has a right to cross-examine the officer. The defense can also present their own evidence, including testimony from the defendant or other witnesses to support their challenge to probable cause. Once that evidence is presented, the attorneys will give closing statements, and the judge will make a ruling.
If a seizure of blood or urine is involved, police may obtain a warrant. If so, the location of the motion to suppress will depend on whether that warrant was granted by a superior court judge or a municipal court judge. If the warrant was granted by a municipal court judge, then that motion to suppress will be heard in the municipal court. If the warrant was granted by a superior court judge, then that motion will be heard in the superior court by a superior court judge who did not grant the warrant.
In cases where we challenge probable cause for the issuance of a warrant, the burden is on the defendant to offer reasons why that warrant was invalid. Those reasons might include objectively erroneous facts on which the judge relied in issuing the warrant–incorrect or omitted facts or fraudulent testimony.
In a case where there is a warrant supporting the arrest, the ultimate burden is on the defendant to challenge that warrant. Without a warrant, the burden remains with the state.
A New Jersey DWI Defense Lawyer can be of assistance in such a case. Give attorney John Menzel a call at (732) 218-9090 to discuss your case.
What Factors Does A Judge Consider In Making A Decision On Whether Or Not To Grant A Motion To Suppress Evidence?
If there is no warrant, the judge is looking to see if there is an exception to the warrant requirement that applies. One exception to the warrant requirement involves the taking of breath samples. The United States Supreme Court has held that it is reasonable for police to obtain breath samples as a search incident to arrest. In other circumstances, the police may need to obtain different kinds of physiological evidence, such as blood or urine.
If the police don’t get a warrant to obtain a blood sample, then they’ll try to rely on one of the warrant exceptions known as consent. When trying to obtain consent, the police ask the person whom they are investigating to give their consent to submit the blood sample and will tell them that there is no requirement for the person to provide such samples. Unfortunately, most defendants do consent because they are ignorant of their rights based on the mistaken belief that cooperating will benefit them. As a result, they act to their detriment by freely volunteering their blood to the police. If the state can establish in the motion to suppress that the defendant gave consent to the taking of the blood or urine, then chemical test results obtained from those samples can, and usually will, be used against them at trial.
Another exception commonly relied on by the police is exigent circumstances, which tend to be very fact-sensitive inquiries and usually arise in cases involving motor vehicle accidents. Factors to consider include the number of police officers at the scene, the number of cars involved, and how heavy or light the traffic was. The ability to obtain a judge is also a factor, although it has become less so in recent years due to technological improvements with telephones, computers, and tablets. A minor factor is the way that alcohol dissipates over time in blood. The state must establish these emergency conditions to justify avoiding getting a warrant. In those types of cases, the defendant has a slightly better chance to prevail than in the ordinary motor vehicle stop and DWI arrest.
How Long Does It Typically Take To Get A Decision On A Motion To Suppress Evidence?
The judge will usually issue a decision the same day as the hearing unless he or she needs to do some research on the matter. The hearing will generally be held within two or three months of the date when the complaints are issued. Getting help from an attorney for a Motion to Suppress is important to defend your case.
For more information on Process In A Motion To Suppress Evidence, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (732) 218-9090 today. Attorney John Menzel is an experience in handling motions to suppress and has been practicing throughout New Jersey for decades.
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