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Motion to Suppress: Filing Motions as a Defense Strategy

Interviewer: How often do you find yourself filing a motion to suppress as a defense strategy? What does that mean? What do you try to get suppressed, and why?

Brian Sloan: A motion to suppress is something I file when it’s appropriate to the case. I’m not one of those attorneys that just files motions for the sake of doing it, just to show my clients that I’m doing something.

Attorneys File Motions to Suppress to Legally Exclude Evidence That Could Be Used against Their Clients at the Trial

A motion to suppress is basically saying that there’s some legal justification to exclude a certain type of evidence from being presented at trial. In DUI cases, usually, the attorneys are attempting to suppress blood test results or breath test results, or basically trying to suppress everything that happened after the stop.

If someone was pulled over for an unjust or illegal reason, it is possible to get all evidence suppressed as fruit of the poisonous tree which is fruit of an illegal stop. That’s a pretty motion to suppress. Basically, all they can say is, “Okay, the person was driving, and then that’s all.” The only evidence they have is everything else gets suppressed.

Having Evidence Crucial to the Prosecution Suppressed May Result in a Reduced Charge Such as Being Impaired to the Slightest Degree

Attorneys will also trying to get the blood test or breath test or urine test suppressed because they’re not scientifically reliable. Or there is a procedure that was incorrect in the way the blood was drawn or the blood was tested or the breath test was done. That tends to result in usually count two, three, and/or four of DUI being dismissed; but, technically, even if I was able to get the blood, breath or urine test suppressed, the prosecutor can still go for as Count 1.

The DA can still go for how the person did on the field sobriety test, and what the person admitted to. There are outward signs of impairments. The blood, breath, or urine is not necessarily the definitive factor. Getting that suppressed doesn’t mean the case goes away. It makes the case a lot easier because they can’t bring in blood test results or breath test results or urine test results. The prosecutor may still have enough evidence to go to trial, and try to prove that you were driving under the influence and that you were impaired to the slightest degree.

By Brian Douglas Sloan