Motion to Suppress a Gun
Every time a police officer recovers a gun, it’s a notch in their belt. This creates an environment within the police department where individual officers are constantly on the lookout for guns, even when there may not be any evidence that someone possessed a weapon. While guns can be dangerous, overly eager police officers who disregard the constitutional rights of citizens also pose a serious threat to society. Whether police found the gun on you, in your car, or among your belongings, an attorney may be able to prevent the prosecution from using the gun as evidence against you by bringing a motion to suppress a gun. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is a renowned criminal defense firm with decades of experience bringing police officer’s illegal actions to light.
If you’ve been arrested for a gun crime in Boston, it is critical that you understand your rights. Under the federal and Massachusetts constitutions, every citizen has the right to be free from “unreasonable” searches and seizures. This means that police officers cannot stop you for no reason; they must have probable cause or reasonable suspicion any time they conduct a search or seizure. When police officers violate your rights when conducting a traffic stop, pedestrian investigation, or in any other type of encounter, the evidence they obtained as a result of the illegal activity cannot be used at trial.What Is a Motion to Suppress a Gun?
A motion to suppress is a pretrial motion, asking the court to keep certain evidence from the jury’s consideration. There are many types of motions to suppress a gun; however, in most cases, these motions are based on a police officer’s illegal search or unlawful arrest. For example, if a police officer stopped and searched you without a legal basis to do so, you could bring a motion to suppress anything the officer recovered during the stop.Boston Search and Seizure Laws
The state and federal constitutions provide all citizens the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Historically, this meant that police officers needed to obtain a warrant before conducting a search. However, over time, courts realized the practicalities of policing and created various exceptions to the warrant requirement.
For example, if a police officer has probable cause to believe you committed a crime, they can arrest you. Once you are arrested, they can then perform a search incident to your arrest. Other exceptions to the warrant requirement include:
- Stop and frisks based on reasonable suspicion of criminal activity;
- Searches based on exigent circumstances;
- Certain types of vehicle searches;
- Searches conducted with a person’s consent; and
- Searches involving objects in plain view.
However, in each of these circumstances, it is up to the prosecution to prove that the facts fell within the exception to the warrant requirement. For example, if police officers recovered a gun in a search incident to an arrest, the prosecution must show that the arrest was lawful. Thus, in this situation, you could file a motion to suppress, challenging the legality of your arrest.
Many Boston gun crimes stem from pedestrian investigations where a police officer stops someone on the street, pats them down, and recovers a weapon. These are referred to as “stop and frisk” cases. Under longstanding United States Supreme Court case law, police officers must have reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing before conducting a stop and frisk. For example, if you were subject to a stop and frisk based on a police officer’s belief you were involved in a crime, the officer would need to point to the specific facts that led them to believe you were involved in the commission of a crime.Have You Been Arrested for a Gun Crime?
If you were recently arrested and charged with a gun crime in Boston, you may be able to challenge the police officer’s actions leading up to your arrest. Often, a motion to suppress a gun comes down to the credibility of the police officer. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is a veteran defense lawyer with extensive experience litigating motions to suppress, cross-examining police officer witnesses, and exposing their inconsistent stories. To learn more about how Attorney Murphy can help you fight your case, give him a call at (617) 367-0450. You can also contact him through his online form.