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What Happens When Evidence is Illegally Obtained?

Posted in Criminal Defense on November 15, 2021

We all want to trust in the justice system, but sometimes the proper steps are ignored, especially when evidence is involved. The use of evidence acquired through the wrong channels can cause major problems for both victims and the accused.


All it takes is information that was improperly gathered to impact the lives of those involved forever. Evidence can make or break a trial, and the use of illegally obtained evidence could cause a case to sway negatively in either direction.

What Are the Proper Steps for Legally Obtaining Evidence?

Evidence comes in many shapes and forms, but the two most common forms of evidence are physical and verbal. Physical evidence includes things gathered at crime scenes and through search warrants, while verbal evidence is categorized by spoken evidence such as testimonies or confessions and written documents like warrants and any other files. 


One of the most common ways for physical evidence to be obtained legally is through search warrants. These documents allow police to search someone’s personal belongings to collect evidence. To properly obtain a warrant, officers must have probable cause that the law was broken.


Verbal evidence is gathered through a variety of different methods. Many times the most common form of verbal evidence is the testimony given while on record. To properly obtain this information, witnesses must be aware that their testimony can be used in court.


For evidence to be permitted in court, it must be gathered through the proper steps. When it is obtained through any other means, the evidence is usually dismissed and no longer usable in the case. 

How Is Evidence Illegally Obtained?

Both verbal and physical evidence are often illegally obtained whether it is done consciously or unconsciously. Many times, evidence is illegally gathered simply because the proper protocols are not followed.


A common example of failure to follow the proper protocol is the failure to obtain a warrant before searching someone’s belongings. For example, if a police officer pulls you over and starts to look in your vehicle for evidence without a warrant, anything they find would be illegally obtained.


The same goes for verbal evidence. If you are not made clear of your rights before questioning, anything gathered from that interview is not permissible to be used as evidence in court.


Small oversights like a premature search of a car or questioning someone too early open up the door to obtain evidence illegally. The best way to defend yourself against illegal evidence collection is to know your rights.

What Are Your Rights Regarding Evidence Collection?

Even though illegally obtained evidence is something that happens too often, it does not need to happen to you. Educating yourself about the rights surrounding the collection of evidence is the best way to protect yourself against a potentially harmful situation.


In regards to physical evidence, the Fourth Amendment of the constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches by the police. If the police try to search your personal belongings without probable cause, you have the right to deny their search.


Additionally, your Miranda Rights offer protection against the illegal obtainment of verbal evidence. For your statement to be upheld in court, police officers must verbally inform you of your rights regarding questioning.


Knowing what rights protect you from the misuse of evidence can make all the difference in whether you are found innocent or guilty when trouble arises. That is why it is important to be knowledgeable about your rights in case of the worst.

What Recourse is Available After Illegal Evidence is Brought Against You?

If you find yourself in a situation where the seizure of illegal evidence occurs, your first reaction may be to panic. However, the best thing to do is remain calm. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where probable cause may be inferred because of your reaction to illegal search or questioning.


Once the event happens, prepare to defend yourself in court. If the court finds that an unreasonable search or questioning has occurred, any evidence gathered illegally will most likely be dismissed.


The best way to defend your case is by hiring an attorney. An experienced attorney helps you avoid the common mistakes that can make things worse for your situation. You don’t want to do anything to make your situation worse, and the right attorney will fight to make sure your case is heard.


Has illegal evidence been brought against you? Contact Mary E. Conn right away for highly competent and legal representation that gets results.

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