In most Georgia criminal defense cases, the defense attorney will file a Motion to Suppress to challenge the constitutionality and law enforcement procedures of the arrest.
Typically, the challenge made in a Motion to Suppress is to a search and seizure, or statement made by the defendant. For example, in a Georgia DUI Defense, the defense attorney may challenge the traffic stop, the detainment of the defendant, the seizure of any physical evidence, the procedures used in administering the roadside sobriety tests, and/or the admissibilty of the results of any testing. If the defendant was read his Miranda Rights, the admissibility of any statements made after Mirandizing will likely be challenged as well.
At the Motion to Suppress hearing, the prosecution has the burden of showing that any evidence obtained by law enforcement was done lawfully and constitutionally. The prosecution must also prove that the officer had reasonable articulable suspicion to stop and detain the defendant and, then, probable cause to arrest the defendant.
The Motion to Suppress hearing is done in open court and the judge, not a jury, is the finder of fact and law. Initially, the judge will ask both the prosecution and defense to give opening remarks to the court. After opening remarks, the prosecution will present evidence through testimony of witnesses. Typically, the witnesses are the law enforcement officers who were involved in the arrest. The Georgia Defense Attorney will have the opportunity to cross examine each of those witnesses while they are on the witness stand.
After the prosecution rests its case, the defense attorney will have the opportunity to put up witnesses as well. Generally, most defense attorneys will advise the defendant not to testify, because of the defendant’s right against self-incrimination.
Once the defense has rested its case, both the defense attorney and prosecutor will make closing arguments based on the evidence presented at the hearing and the law. The defense will argue that evidence should not be admitted at a future trial. The prosecution will, of course, advocate for the continued prosecution with all of the evidence.
Once closing arguments are complete, it is up to the judge to rule on the issues. Often, the judge will deliver his or her ruling at the hearing. However, if there are complicated issues involved, the judge may issue a ruling later, typically within 30 days, after more consideration of the law and facts.
Even if the defense does not “win” on the Motion to Suppress, the hearing can be very valuable in the preparation for trial. The Motion to Suppress hearing gives the Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney the opportunity to preview the evidence that will be legally admissible at trial and can better advise the client on the case. If you have been arrested for a Georgia DUI or other criminal charges, including marijuana possession, call an Experienced Motion to Suppress Attorney to discuss your case and what possible evidence could be excluded.
About the attorney: Anne Bishop is a Georgia Lawyer with A. Bishop Law in Gainesville, Georgia and handles various DUI / DWI, Marijuana Arrests and other Georgia Criminal Defense matters. The law office of A. Bishop Law can assist clients throughout Georgia including: Hall County (Gainesville, Oakwood, Flowery Branch), Jackson County (Jefferson, Braselton) White County (Helen, Cleveland), Lumpkin County (Dahlonega), Dawson County (Dawsonville), Habersham County (Demorest, Cornelia), and all of Northeast Georgia.
This article and/or video should not be considered nor relied upon as legal advice since it is only intended for general overview and informational purposes. Please consult with an attorney on your specific situation in order to determine an appropriate legal course of action.