Expectation of Privacy: Standing

In general, defendants do not have the right to dispute the search and admission of evidence merely because the search revealed evidence that the prosecution plans to use against them. Prior to a court allowing a suppression hearing to go forward, the defendant must show that he or she (and not some other person) actually had a valid expectation of privacy in the place that was searched or in the article that was seized. This requirement is known as “standing,” and simply having ownership interest in seized property does not give a person standing.

For defendants, the issue of standing can present a slight problem. For instance, at trial, your South King County criminal attorney will attempt to “detach” you from the drugs or whatever incriminating evidence the police seized at the time of the search. However, you will not be granted a suppression hearing unless your attorney alleges ample facts to establish that you have standing.

Clever prosecutors will dispute standing by trying to force a defendant to get on the witness stand at the suppression hearing and confess that he actually possessed the incriminating item. Although the prosecution will not be allowed to use any of these admissions at trial, he or she can bring them up in an effort to impeach the defendant if he chooses to testify on his own behalf at trial.

That said, a more experienced South King County criminal attorney will attempt to establish standing through other people, rather than through the defendant. For example, a friend of the defendant (provided he or she isn’t charged as a co-defendant in the case) might be able to testify that the defendant stayed in the apartment that was searched for several nights, thus establishing standing. If you need a South King County criminal attorney, please call South King County criminal attorney for a free consultation.

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