The legal principle of presumed innocent until proven guilty relies on the criminal justice system trying people on the basis of legally obtained evidence. The exclusionary rule has the potential to protect you from criminal charges if police obtained evidence through an illegal search or seizure. If New York police collect evidence in violation of your constitutional rights, then you may argue that it cannot be used to convict you of a crime.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
The exclusionary rule came about because the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement to have a warrant approved by a judge or probable cause in the moment of contact to search you or your belongings and seize anything.
Pretrial suppression of evidence
When defending against these charges, you may argue that some or all evidence came from an unwarranted or illegal search. A pretrial motion to suppress evidence is the tool used to raise concerns about violations of a defendant’s rights.
A judge then decides whether the motion represents a valid concern or not. The dismissal of this pretrial motion would allow the prosecution to move forward with the evidence. If this action results in a conviction, the dismissed pretrial motion might serve as a reason to appeal the case.
Exclusionary rule is a modern interpretation
The writing of the Fourth Amendment did not automatically protect criminal defendants. Law enforcement largely ignored this constitutional right until 1914 when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an individual’s federal conviction due to evidence collected without a warrant or probable cause. Not until 1961 did the Supreme Court establish that the exclusionary rule applied to the states as well.