When arrested for a crime in North Carolina, the United States provides protection from unreasonable police conduct through the exclusionary rule. In order for a police officer to perform a search and seizure, the officer must have a warrant or probable cause. What happens if the police officer does not follow procedure and yet still finds incriminating evidence? This is when you need the exclusionary rule.

Accountability is important in terms of a police officer’s actions. If an officer violates your constitutional rights, then all evidence that he or she found may be subject to dismissal by the court. If your case does go to trial, then you can challenge the evidence. You can suppress the evidence through finding it in violation. Now, if the court does happen to allow the evidence and the jury convicts you, then you can challenge the decision. In your appeal, you would file a motion to suppress the evidence.

Another legal concept that complements the exclusionary rule is the fruit of the poisonous tree rule. According to FindLaw, this law rule states that the court can exclude any evidence derived from the illegal search, not only evidence that seized directly under the violation of the constitution. For instance, if the police arrest you and the arrest itself is unconstitutional, then anything you say to the police is inadmissible. For instance, if you confess in police custody after an unconstitutional arrest, the confession is no longer valid.

This is a basic rundown of the exclusionary rule and is for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice.