Motions to Suppress in Las Vegas Drug Cases

Las Vegas Drug Crime Defense Attorney

While motions to suppress are applicable to every criminal case in which a colorable search and seizure issue is present, they play an especially important role in drug cases. Generally speaking, motions to suppress can be thought of as a mechanism whereby evidence acquired in violation of a constitutional rule (primarily the Federal Constitutional provisions of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments) is excluded from evidence, and may not be used by the prosecution against the person whose rights were violated.

The exclusion of evidence as a penalty for acquiring it in an unconstitutional manner is governed by a judge-made body of law referred to as “the exclusionary rule.” The application of the exclusionary rule strongly incentivizes law enforcement compliance with the constitutional rules which govern searches, seizures, and interrogations. The possibility of a case being devastated by the exclusion of critical evidence is always present, given that unconstitutional law enforcement search and seizure shortcuts remain prevalent. The importance of having a lawyer who has and can successfully litigate search and seizure issues is critical in cases involving illegal narcotics.

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Searches Involving Drug Crimes

Drug cases often involve searches of:

  • Residences
  • Automobiles
  • The person of the suspect

Different standards apply to each. A body of case law has developed over the years in which judges have interpreted the levels of protection which apply to each constitutional guarantee. This body of law is complex and continuously changing. Every term of the United States Supreme Court results in the announcement of at least one new interpretation of search and seizure law. This law is critical in the resolution of motions to suppress. Understanding this complex, ever changing area of law is essential. A Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer who has not mastered the rules applicable to constitutional search and seizure certainly is less likely to effectively advance a motion to suppress.

Motions to Suppress Timelines

Various timelines apply to the filing of a motion to suppress. Both Nevada state court and federal court have different rules. Failure to comply with the filing rules may result in the waiver of an issue. In other words, even though a client has a wonderful search and seizure issue, if his or her lawyer misses a filing deadline, the issue may evaporate and be waived. It is critical that criminal defense lawyers, who practice in the Las Vegas state and federal courts, understand and comply with the critical deadlines which apply to motions to suppress.

Evidentiary Hearings

Oftentimes, an evidentiary hearing will be held in conjunction with a motion to suppress. An evidentiary hearing is a hearing in front of a judge (no jury is present) in which witnesses are called, documents are introduced into evidence, and the facts are identified. An evidentiary hearing in the context of a motion to suppress will necessarily focus on the critical facts regarding the alleged constitutional violation. A court reporter will transcribe the entire hearing. It will be part of the record and available for appellate review. These types of evidentiary hearings are typically hotly contested.

The facts established in these hearings have the ability to make or break an entire case. It is essential that a criminal defense lawyer is completely prepared to cross-examine each of the prosecution’s witnesses and lock them into a position which will enhance the defense motion to suppress. If an evidentiary hearing is done correctly, frequently motions to suppress are granted, and the government’s case will lose its most important piece of evidence. When this occurs, the prosecution’s case is, for all intents and purposes, over and you are in a great position.

Our Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys Know How to Win

Our Las Vegas drug defense lawyers at Oronoz, Ericsson & Gaffney LLC have effectively litigated many motions to suppress in Las Vegas courts. We understand the critical issues which pertain to search and seizure law. If charged with a drug crime in Las Vegas, do not put your future in the hands of an amateur. It could result in a less than favorable resolution for you.

Call our team today. We can be reached at (702) 904-8858.

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