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5 kinds of pre-trial motions

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Before a criminal trial begins, the defense, prosecution and judge come together in a pre-trial. Pre-trial happens before the case goes to trial and after the preliminary trial, which allows the judge to decide if there’s enough evidence to convince the jury that a crime was committed by the defendant. At the time of a pre-trial, the defense and prosecution can discuss pre-trial motions that set the boundaries of a trial.

Pre-trial motions are powerful tools that can be used by the prosecution and defense to exclude evidence, change venues or end a case. There are many kinds of pre-trial motions. Here’s what you should know:

1. Motion to discover

Evidence is gathered before a trial so that each side can prepare to argue their truth. A motion to discover can be made so that each side provides the evidence gathered, which then gives each side time to rebut arguments. 

2. Motion to dismiss 

The defense may ask for a motion to dismiss, which is asking for a charge to be dismissed or for no trial to take place. This essentially happens if there’s not enough evidence or the evidence collected doesn’t prove that a crime was committed. 

3. Motion to change venue 

Some high-profile criminal cases see a lot of publicity. which may cause the defense or prosecution to fear it would be hard to find an impartial jury. If the jury is prejudiced against the defendant, then a motion to change venue could be requested. 

4. Motion to suppress

There’s some evidence that may be restricted from a trial in a Motion to Suppress, especially evidence that may have been illegally obtained or beyond the scope of a search warrant. A motion could also exclude evidence that would likely confuse the jury.

5. Motion to summary judgment 

A motion to summary judgment would likely be made if there are indisputable facts that a crime was committed, which intends to speed up the trial process.

The right pre-trial motion can greatly sway the results of a trial. A knowledgeable defense should have an understanding of pre-trial motions and how they can help defendants. 

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