What Counts as Illegally Obtained Evidence?

Maverick Ray Law
June 9, 2022

Understanding Your Rights in a Criminal Case Based on Illegally Obtained Evidence

In a criminal case, evidence must be lawfully obtained to be admissible. Generally, illegally obtained evidence cannot be used against you in a court of law. While there are some exceptions, a qualified defense attorney can argue against any evidence that was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights.

At Maverick Ray & Associates, we fight for our clients. Our lawyers work tirelessly to protect the rights of those accused of a crime. We routinely secure reductions and dismissals in cases where evidence has been illegally obtained. If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Houston or the surrounding area, contact our office at (281) 672-8029 for a free consultation.

What Is Illegally Obtained Evidence?

Illegally obtained evidence is any evidence that is collected in violation of a person’s constitutional rights. In most cases, it is evidence obtained in violation of the 4th amendment (unreasonable searches and seizures), the 5th amendment (right against self-incrimination), and the 6th amendment (right to assistance of counsel).

Examples of illegally obtained evidence include:

  • Unlawful wiretap
  • Lack of probable cause
  • Illegal detention
  • Coerced confession or admission
  • Warrantless search
  • Improper seizure

Both state and federal law protects individuals from evidence that has been unlawfully secured. If a prosecutor attempts to use evidence that has been illegally obtained, a criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to suppress, arguing why it should not be admitted or negotiate for a reduction or dismissal of the charges.

What Is the Exclusionary Rule?

It is codified in state and federal law that no evidence obtained by an officer or other person in violation of a person’s constitutional rights can be admitted into evidence. In Texas, the Exclusionary Rule is set forth in article 38.23 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It includes evidence obtained in violation of the United States Constitution or Texas law.

What Is “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”?

It is not only direct evidence that cannot be used if it is illegally obtained but also evidence derived from that initial illegal activity. For example, drugs found as a result of an illegally recorded statement cannot be used as evidence unless there is a valid exception. Valid exceptions include that the discovery of the drugs was inevitable or that it was discovered as a result of an independent source.

The rules of criminal procedure are complex, which is why you need an experienced attorney to represent you. Without the help of a lawyer, you may not receive the best possible outcome in your case. It is critical to consult with an attorney as early in the process as possible, particularly if you have been charged with a felony or violent crime.

Was Evidence Obtained Illegally in Your Case?

If you believe that evidence was illegally obtained in your criminal case, contact our office at (281) 672-8029 for a free consultation. All initial case reviews are without obligation to retain our firm. Get the legal help you need to protect your freedom. Call Maverick Ray & Associates to discuss your options.