What happens if the police obtain evidence that they were not authorized to include in your case? Illegally obtained evidence may apply to your criminal defense under what is known as the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine.
Evidence that police find during an illegal search of you or your belongings is typically inadmissible in criminal court. The prosecution usually cannot use something that you said to the police, if officers violated your rights in obtaining the statement. Prosecution usually cannot use evidence that comes direct from police illegality, whether it is the statement or the seized object.
There are some exceptions to the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine, which is why it is so valuable to schedule a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Some evidence could be classified as admissible even if the police obtained it illegally. Terms like attenuated, taint and inevitable discovery are used to describe situations in which the government illegally finds evidence, but could have found it lawfully. In some of these situations, the evidence could be categorized as admissible.
One such example is wiretapping. Another critical exception to the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine has to do with statements made by defendant. The statement may be categorized as inadmissible if the officer engages in a physical attack against the defendant. However, if the statement is made voluntarily, evidence may come in during a trial. Talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after being arrested can help you figure out what applies in your specific case and what to do to protect yourself.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.