A motion to suppress asks a court to disregard or disallow the presentation of certain evidence because law enforcement authorities obtained it illegally. A common subject of a motion to suppress is unconstitutional behavior by the police who obtained the evidence. For example, if a police officer seized evidence from an individual by violating his or her constitutional rights, the judge may decide to exclude the evidence from the court proceeding. If the evidence is crucial to the government’s case, then a suppression of the evidence can result in the dismissal of the case against the accused. This is often referred to as the exclusionary rule. Both the Fourth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment can normally serve as the basis for a motion to suppress. These constitutional protections apply both to police officers and immigrant officers. Federal immigration law also places limits on the actions of immigration officers that in some cases go beyond regular constitutional protections. For instance, an immigration officer cannot arrest a person believed to be in the country without legal status without an arrest warrant, if adequate time exists for the officer to get a warrant. This protection extends beyond those protections outlined in the Constitution. A motion to suppress can occur in the context of a criminal proceeding, but also may occur in the context of an immigration proceeding, which is a civil matter. While a motion to suppress is not always an available remedy in immigration proceedings, it can be an effective tool to fight against deportation proceedings in immigration court. Just as in criminal cases, if an immigration agent or other law enforcement official illegally obtains information or evidence from an immigrant during an arrest or detention, or illegally detains the immigrant, certain evidence may not be admissible in court. However, please note that it is typically much more difficult to get evidence thrown out in immigration proceedings than in criminal proceedings. This is because the Supreme Court’s decision in INS v. Lopez-Mendoza from 1984 limited motions to suppress for Fourth Amendment violations to only work in immigration court if they were so egregious as to constitute a violation of the Fifth Amendment’s protection of due process. These arguments are complex and you will want help before trying them. No matter whether a motion to suppress is relevant to your case or not, we are here to help you during your deportation proceedings and avoid deportation. We are experienced California deportation defense lawyers who know immigration law and know how to effectively represent your interests in your deportation case. We will build a strong case for any and all defenses that are available on your behalf. Call our office today and learn what the attorneys of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., can do to help you and your family.
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