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Motion to Suppress

What is a motion to suppress?: Our Constitution draws a line between the police and private persons.  A motion to suppress seeks to hold that line.  Strong lawyering can show that the officers did not have the right to look through a person’s private property or put their hands on a person’s body.

Under the Fourth Amendment, you have a constitutional right to privacy.  Our courts have said that a suppression motion is not determined based on what the search eventually turns up.  It does not matter that the person may have had something illegal.  We have decided as a society that our democracy prevents officers from seizing our property or our bodies and searching us at will without a sufficient level of justification. 

Police officers stopped Attorney Lown's client in Dorchester after claiming that he was acting "suspicious" while riding as a passenger in a car.  After Attorney Lown cross-examined three officers, the Honorable Judge Breen in Dorchester agreed that the officers did not have the authority to stop the car and order the client out of the vehicle.  The evidence was suppressed and the case was dismissed. More

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Attorney Zachary Lown, Principal Attorney

Lown Law Firm Wins Motion To Suppress

Prosecutors do not just argue the law, they advocate a vision of expansive police power.  For that reason, the defense attorney must rely not just on what previous cases have said, but they must also argue what the law ought to be.  The defense lawyer identifies the point at which the officers impermissibley crossed the line.  If successful, the evidence is thrown out of court.  (View previous Motion To Suppress victories)

What is the legal definition of a motion to suppress?: The legal authority for a motion to suppress is the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights and certain statutes.  These authorities specify that government officials are prohibited from searching a person or that person's property without sufficient justification.  If there was a search in your case, your lawyer can request a hearing.  At the hearing your lawyer will have the opportunity to cross-examine the officers who conducted the search.  The judge will look at previous cases as precedents which have identified the different situations in which a search was declared to be illegal.  If the judge rules that the search in your case was illegal then the evidence will be suppressed at trial.  That means that the evidence is effectively thrown out of court.  This is true even if the evidence was an illegal item such as a gun or drugs. 

Can I do a motion to suppress?: Under our constitution, we have the right to be free from unreasonable searches.  If the police search a person or a person’s property without a warrant, the burden is on the government to prove that the search was justified.  Even if the search was conducted with a warrant, the defendant may argue that the warrant was not supported by probable cause and that the search was therefore unconstitutional.  

Whether or not a search was justified depends on the facts of each individual case.  Previous cases have defined the scope of the government’s power to search private individuals.

For an individual and confidential consultation, contact Lown Law Firm. 

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