What is a Motion to Suppress Evidence in Texas?


A Motion to Suppress evidence is a request to exclude certain forms of evidence from a criminal trial. If granted by the judge, a Motion to Suppress can decimate the prosecution’s case, making it an invaluable tool for defending a criminal charge in Texas. Learn more.

  • What is the purpose of a Motion to Suppress in Texas? The purpose of a Motion to Suppress in Texas is to reduce, or eliminate, the evidence available to the prosecution. If a judge suppresses a majority of the evidence, the prosecution may be forced to dismiss the criminal case.
  • What causes evidence to be suppressed? Constitutional violations by the police are the most common causes for evidence to be suppressed. These can range from illegal searches, to arrests without probable cause, to traffic stops where no traffic violation is present.
  • Why would evidence be suppressed in Texas? Evidence would be suppressed in Texas if the judge finds the evidence was gathered through a violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights. For example, a judge would suppress a defendant’s statement upon finding the police did not read the defendant their Miranda Rights during the interrogation.


When evidence is suppressed, it is excluded from a criminal trial and may not be introduced, referred or alluded to throughout the proceeding. This means the prosecution may not use the evidence, and, if they have no further evidence, they may be forced to dismiss the case.

  • What is the purpose of suppression in Texas? The purpose of suppression is to protect the rights of all Texans by deterring police misconduct. In a criminal trial, the purpose of suppression is to eliminate illegally obtained evidence, reduce the overall prosecution evidence, and ensure a fair trial.
  • What is the difference between a Motion to Suppress and a Motion in Limine? A Motion to Suppress and Motion in Limine are similar. Motions to Suppress typically involve excluding illegally obtained evidence while a Motion in Limine involves the reliability or overall relevance of an evidentiary item in a criminal trial in Texas.
  • What does it mean to suppress a statement in Texas? Suppressing a statement means the statement may not be introduced and used against a defendant in Texas. The judge will have found that the statement was obtained by violating a defendant’s constitutional rights, or that introducing the statement will violate the constitutional right to a fair trial.
  • What does Motion to Suppress Evidence mean in Texas? Motion to Suppress evidence means a defendant is challenging the admissibility of prosecution evidence. A defendant can seek to exclude unlawfully obtained evidence by filing a Motion to Suppress. The Motion to Suppress can then be set for a hearing prior to trial, or during the trial itself.


A defendant seeking to suppress evidence in Texas will file a Motion to Suppress detailing the evidence to be suppressed and supporting legal reasoning. The judge then hears evidence and legal arguments from both parties and issues a ruling regarding the admissibility of the evidence.

  • How to file a Motion to Suppress evidence in Texas? A Motion to Suppress must be filed with the court where the charge is pending. In Texas, this is done through web-based electronic filing, or E-File. The Motion to Suppress will identify the evidence at issue, and allege the illegality surrounding its admission in the criminal trial. Learn more.
  • On which rights are most Motions to Suppress based in Texas? Motions to Suppress are most commonly based on violations of constitutional rights. These include Fourth Amendment prohibitions of illegal searches and seizures, Fifth Amendment restrictions on self-incrimination, and Sixth Amendment assurances on confronting witnesses. These rights are also protected by Article 1 of the Texas Constitution and the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.23.
  • What happens if there is not enough evidence? Criminal charges can be dismissed due to lack of evidence. Prosecutors rely heavily on evidence to prove each charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Without evidence, prosecutors cannot meet their burden of proof. Motions to suppress evidence can force a prosecutor to dismiss a criminal case.
  • Do Texas Rules of Evidence apply in a Motion to Suppress in Texas? The Texas Rules of Evidence do not apply in a Motion to Suppress hearing in Texas. For example, a prosecutor may introduce hearsay evidence in a suppression hearing. Evidence in a Motion to Suppress hearing must still be relevant and reliable.


If a Motion to Suppress is granted in Texas, the evidence specified in the motion can not be introduced, referred, or alluded to in a criminal trial against the defendant. This can be devastating to the prosecution case and will in many instances result in a dismissal.

  • When can a judge exclude evidence in Texas? A judge can exclude evidence at a pretrial hearing or during a criminal trial in Texas.
  • How long does a judge have to rule on a motion in Texas? A judge has no time limitation for ruling on a motion in Texas. For practical purposes, a judge will want to rule as quickly as possible so the case may proceed.
  • How often does a Motion to Suppress work in Texas? Successful Motions to Suppress are filed every day in Texas courts and can result in suppression of everything from five words in a video statement, to the exclusion of an entire DWI investigation due to an illegal traffic stop. Learn more.
  • What kind of evidence is not admissible in court in Texas? Evidence that was suppressed by a judge is not admissible in court in Texas. The judge can also limit the majority of hearsay and general character evidence. Evidence not relevant to the criminal accusation is inadmissible.
  • What does suppressed statement mean in Texas? Suppressed statement means a judge suppressed and excluded a witness statement and the statement may not be used in a criminal trial against a defendant.
  • What happens if a Motion to Suppress is denied in Texas? If a Motion to Suppress is denied in Texas, the evidence specified in the motion can be introduced and used against a defendant. The defendant can appeal a denial of a Motion to Suppress once the case is resolved.
  • What happens after a Motion to Dismiss is denied in Texas? A criminal case will proceed forward, to trial if necessary, after a Motion to Dismiss is denied. A defendant can appeal a denial of a Motion to Dismiss once the case is resolved.
  • What are grounds for dismissal of indictment in Texas? Grounds for dismissal of an indictment in Texas include a lack of evidence due to a successful motion to suppress.


An example of suppression is when a judge excludes all evidence of drugs discovered in a house by the police because they entered the house without a warrant. Another example is when a judge excludes a confession because the police conducted a custodial interrogation without first reciting the Miranda warnings. Learn more.

  • What is suppression and how does it work in Texas? Suppression is the process of excluding evidence from a  criminal trial. A defendant files a motion alleging certain evidence was illegally obtained and asks the court to suppress that evidence. The judge then hears evidence and legal arguments on the matter before ruling.
  • What is the suppression rule? The federal suppression rule is known as the exclusionary rule and prevents the government from using most evidence gathered in violation of the U.S. Constitution. In Texas, the exclusionary rule found in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 38.23 prevents the admission of evidence obtained by the police or ANY person in violation of any law. Learn more.
  • Is suppression a good thing? Suppression of evidence is a good thing for a criminal defendant in Texas because it increases the odds of securing a dismissal. On a larger scale, suppression is a good thing because it deters police misconduct and protects all citizens from government overreach.
  • What happens during suppression in Texas? A judge hears a defendant’s arguments in favor of suppressing evidence and considers any valid exceptions and counter arguments by the prosecution. The judge then decides whether to suppress the evidence, thereby excluding it from the criminal case.
  • How does a suppression order work in Texas? A suppression order works by specifically identifying the item of evidence subject to suppression. The suppression order will prohibit the introduction of, and any mention or testimony regarding the evidence.


A suppression charge is a jury instruction ordering the jury not to consider evidence obtained in violation of any law. It is included in the general jury instructions at the close of a criminal trial when there is a contested issue of fact. This charge is unique to Texas and essentially permits a defendant to litigate a motion to suppress before the judge, and then before the jury. 

  • What cannot be used as evidence in Texas? Illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in Texas. Evidence that has been suppressed is excluded from a criminal trial and cannot be used as evidence in Texas.
  • What kinds of evidence can not be used in court? Hearsay evidence can not be used in court, with some exceptions. Evidence that is not relevant to the criminal charge is inadmissible and so is evidence subject to a suppression order.
  • What kind of evidence could be excluded from a court of law in Texas? Evidence that is not relevant or not reliable can be excluded from a court of law in Texas. Hearsay evidence can also be excluded unless it meets one of the exceptions in the rules of evidence. Learn more.
  • What happens if you breach a suppression order? A breach of a suppression order can result in the trial judge declaring a mistrial, which terminates the criminal trial. In some instances this may bar retrial of the case which effectively results in a dismissal.


Trey Porter is a dynamic advocate, nationally recognized for his work in Criminal Defense. He has been voted by his peers as a best lawyer in the field of Criminal and DWI Defense every year since 2015. Recognized by SuperLawyers, Mr. Porter has also been distinguished as a Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Porter holds a Superb rating from AVVO, where attorneys are rated based on skillful litigation, client satisfaction, peer endorsements, and positive results. Learn more.

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Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.



Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.



Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.


DWI 2nd

Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.



Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.



Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.

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