Motion to Quash and Suppress Evidence

llinois Criminal Defense Counsel

There are many different actions that may lead to an arrest. When a person has been arrested, he or she often wants the entire thing to go away entirely. Although this may not be possible in every case, there are legal mechanisms available to quash an arrest and suppress evidence that may present a person with an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. The basis for such a motion arising out of that arrest is the fact that there was no basis for the arrest in the first place; therefore, and evidence that was gathered as a result of the arrest was improperly obtained and cannot be used against the defendant. If this motion is successful, it may lead to the dismissal of the entire case as the prosecutor no longer will have a sufficient foundation on which to base the legal action.

At the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, we focus on how to get the best results for our clients, examining the matter for weaknesses at every stage of the case. Mr. Freidberg has been representing the rights and interests of criminal defendants for over 25 years and has developed the skills and knowledge to create a strong legal strategy and implement it effectively. Practicing throughout Chicago and all of Cook County, Mr. Freidberg advocates fiercely on behalf of his clients in order to minimize the penalties that they face after being charged criminally.

Illinois Law and a Motion to Quash and Suppress Evidence

When analyzing whether a motion to quash and suppress evidence is a viable plan of action for a particular case, it is necessary to determine whether the investigating or arresting officer had the probable cause necessary to take the actions that he did. Probable cause is necessary for a law enforcement officer to conduct a search and/or execute an arrest. In most instances, there must be a showing of probable cause before a court will issue a warrant that is required for a search and seizure of evidence or the arrest of a person inside his or her home. Some situations may involve a warrantless search and seizure, depending on the facts of the case.

The existence of reasonable probable cause may be challenged in a motion to quash the arrest and a motion to suppress any evidence that was obtained as a result of the arrest. Most times, these two legal requests are submitted as part of one motion. One of the ways to distinguish a motion from an argument that is made at trial is that a trial is intended to determine issues of fact while motions are addressing issues of law, such as whether the arresting officer had justification for his actions. A person may actually have committed a crime, and that fact would have been established if the matter had proceeded to trial, but the legally improper actions of the officer in effectuating the arrest and seizing the evidence may lead to the exclusion of all mention of the arrest and evidence collected as a result of the arrest. This may lead to a dismissal of charges against a person because of the improper actions of the law enforcement officer.

Legal Basis for a Motion to Quash and Suppress Evidence

The requirement that a law enforcement officer have probable cause to make an arrest is based on the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which requires that there be a warrant before a person can be searched or his property can be seized. The Fourth Amendment was adopted to ensure that a person’s right to liberty, as set forth in the United States Constitution, is protected. Developing out of the basic premise is that there may be a warrantless search if sufficient probable cause exists. This often applies in situations where there may not be time to get a warrant if there is the possibility of evidence deteriorating or disappearing. Warrantless searches often take place when there has been a stop on the basis of suspected driving under the influence and the officer wants to collect evidence of alcohol or drug impairment before the substances pass from the arrestee’s system. In order to defend a warrantless search justified by the existence of sufficient probable cause, there must be evidence adequate enough to convince a reasonable person that it was likely that the suspect committed a crime. The facts and circumstances that establish the likelihood of a crime having been committed must rise above mere suspicion, but do not have to support actual knowledge of the crime.

A police officer may suspect that a person is driving under the influence because of failure to signal lane changes, driving in and out of a lane of traffic, or failing to comply with traffic signals. The violations provide a reason to pull a person over and observations about the person’s state, including the smell of alcohol, bloodshot eyes, and failing the field sobriety tests may provide the basis for an arrest of the individual and the gathering of evidence in the form of breathalyzer or chemical tests. However, if the probable cause was insufficient for the initial arrest, then any evidence arising out of the arrest may be suppressed.

Filing a Motion to Quash and Suppress

When a person was arrested without sufficient probable cause, his attorney can file a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The basis for this motion is a query to the court to determine if there were sufficient facts and circumstantial evidence that a reasonable and prudent person would have believed that there was a crime that had been committed. If the judge reviews the motion and determines that there was insufficient probable cause, then any evidence of the improper arrest is excluded from any ongoing legal action. Any evidence that was collected or seized as a result of the illegal arrest also is excluded from the case. In many criminal actions, this determination is enough to get specific charges, or the entire case, dismissed. A motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence is a very effective means of protecting a person from an unreasonable seizure, thus protecting the individual’s Constitutional rights.

David L. Freidberg Advocates Fiercely on Behalf of Those Accused of a Crime

There are many different ways to defend against criminal charges. It is important to analyze every facet of a case, from the investigative steps to the actions of the prosecutor, in order to build an effective strategy. One tool that proves invaluable in certain cases is a motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. These motions are based on the premise that the law enforcement officer did not proceed in a legally permissible manner, with probable cause, so the arrest and any related evidence seized as a result of the arrest or a warrantless search must be excluded from any trial. Many times, success with such a motion will lead to a dismissal of charges, or the entire case. However, it is important to have an attorney who understands all the different ways in which to defend a person accused of a crime. At the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, our Chicago Criminal Defense Attorneys are dedicated to pursuing every potential form of defense in order to protect the rights of our clients.Contact the office at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 or send an email to to schedule a free consultation. We will respond to you as quickly as possible.

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