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Motions to Suppress Evidence - Utah Criminal Attorney

A motion to suppress evidence is much more than a technicality. It is a vital means of protecting the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. As an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney, Stephen Howard can help you determine whether a motion to suppress will help in your case.

Grounds for a Motion to Suppress in Utah Criminal Cases

Most motions to suppress evidence in Utah criminal cases involve allegations of police violations of the Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment. If a motion to suppress is successful, a judge may issue an order preventing the prosecution from using any evidence obtained as a result of the constitutional violation. In many cases, this will mean that criminal charges will be dismissed.

Fourth Amendment Violations
If police have conducted a warrantless search of your home, your person, your automobile, or other places where you have a legitimate expectation of privacy, evidence found as a result of the unlawful search may be suppressed. Unless they meet certain exceptions to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement, police are normally required to obtain a warrant before conducting a search or seizing property.

There are exceptions to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. Many criminal cases involve evidence found by police during the course of a traffic stop. Where an officer has observed a traffic code violation, the officer may stop (or "seize") you and your vehicle, without a warrant, in order to issue a citation. But unless the officer can articulate grounds to support a reasonable suspicion of other criminal activity, the officer should not detain the driver any longer than necessary to issue the citation. Unlawfully extending the scope or duration of the initial stop can serve as a potential basis for a motion to suppress evidence in a Utah criminal case.

Fifth Amendment Violations
If you have been subjected to police questioning or interrogation after being taken into custody, there is a possibility that a motion suppress may help your case. The "Miranda" warnings, made famous by so many television police dramas, are intended to serve as a protection against police violations of a suspect's Fifth Amendment rights. But police officers are not required to give the Miranda warnings in every case.

Police often give the Miranda warnings whenever a person is arrested. Police will also commonly give the Miranda warnings any time that they question a suspect. But the courts only require Miranda warnings to be given in the context of a custodial interrogation. If a person is questioned but is not in custody, or if a person is taken into custody but is not questioned, then the Miranda warnings are not required. But where a person is arrested and questioned, the Miranda warnings should be given. If those warnings are not given and the police proceed to question or interrogate a suspect who is undre arrest, then incriminating statements made by the suspect may be suppressed.

Finding a Utah Criminal Attorney in Salt Lake

The laws surrounding the Fourth and Fifth Amendment are complicated. Just because police didn't have a warrant, or just because the police didn't read the Miranda warnings doesn't mean that your case will automatically be dismissed. And just filing a motion to suppress doesn't mean automatic victory. There are often factual and legal disputes that require an evidentiary hearing, cross examination of seasoned police officers, and drafting complex legal briefs to support your position. Having an experienced Utah criminal defense attorney on your side can improve your chances of success.

Based in Salt Lake City, criminal attorney Stephen Howard is pleased to offer legal services to clients throughout Utah. He has handled thousands of serious Utah criminal felony charges, and has a record of achieving real results for his clients.

Contact us now to see how Stephen Howard can help with your case.


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  • Selected Victories
  • Criminal Defense AttorneyDismissed - Charges of insurance fraud were brought when investigators found reason to believe that client's claim of injury was fraudulent. Client was seen kicking a soccer ball, and investigators concluded that the injury claim was false. By obtaining medical records and other administrative records, and by pointing out to the prosecutor that the alleged injury interferred with the client's ability to lift - not his ability to kick a ball - the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case.
  • Criminal Appeals Defense AttorneyDismissed on Appeal - DUI case was dismissed after a successful appeal where the Utah Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's denial of the defense motion to suppress. Without the suppressed evidence, the prosecutor acknowledged that they did not have sufficient evidence to proceed to trial and the case was dismissed.
  • Utah Probation Attorney Released - Client absconded for more than 10 years from felony probation with Adult Probation and Parole. At an order to show cause hearing, prosecutor argued aggressively for prison. Based on effective mitigation efforts by the defense, the judge agreed to release client without further jail.
  • Felony Attorney Utah Dismissed - Client facing first-degree felony charge and possible life in prison for child kidnapping. Full defense analysis of the case revealed critical legal flaws in the prosecution's case. When confronted with the defense legal analysis, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the case outright without trial.
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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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