5 Important Pretrial Motions that Could Help Win Your Case
Make sure your criminal defense attorney is experienced enough to use motions correctly.
Your criminal defense attorney is responsible for a lot more than arguing your case skillfully in front of a jury. Before the case ever gets to that point, they have many opportunities to take actions that can help set the stage for a successful outcome to your case.
Motions, or requests made to the judge overseeing the case, are some of the most powerful actions a defense attorney can take. Pretrial motions in particular can be very important for making sure defendants get every possible advantage they are entitled to under the law from the very start of the courtroom process.
Motion to Dismiss Complaint
With this motion, the defense attorney can ask the judge to dismiss the case against their client due to an insufficient criminal complaint. In some ways, a dismissal is even more satisfying than a not guilty verdict, because it spares the defendant the time, expense, and stress of an unnecessary trial.
Motion to Reduce Charges
Because the criminal penalties associated with different crimes can vary widely, it is essential to ensure that the defendant is facing the correct charge that fits the circumstances of their alleged crime. If the defense attorney sees that the defendant has been charged incorrectly, they may file a motion to request that the judge reduce the charge to a more appropriate one. Filing a motion for a reduced charge does not signal that the attorney has given up on their client. Rather, it is simply a prudent measure to take to ensure the client does not risk conviction on an inappropriate charge.
Motion for Change of Venue
While defense attorneys always handle the juror selection process with the utmost care to ensure biased individuals do not get selected, in some cases it can be very difficult to prevent bias from creeping in and affecting the outcome of the trial. This might happen if the alleged crime was reported widely in the media and he defendant has already been “convicted” in the court of public opinion. In these situations, a motion for change of venue may be used to attempt to convince a judge that the case needs to be relocated in order to ensure a fair trial.
Motion to Strike Prior Conviction
Repeat offenders can face enhanced penalties under California’s Three Strikes Law and other rules. With a motion to strike a prior conviction, a defense attorney can potentially keep this from happening. This motion can make the difference between a regular sentence and the potential of life imprisonment.
Motion to Suppress Evidence
One final motion that a criminal defense attorney absolutely must know how to use is the motion to suppress evidence. This motion should be filed any time a piece of the prosecution’s evidence could be considered inadmissible. Some common examples might be evidence that was obtained through an illegal search and seizure, coerced testimony, testimony given without a Miranda warning, or any other type of tainted evidence.
We Know Our Motions
A seasoned criminal defense attorney like Lisa Mattern or Margaret Mendoza will certainly not overlook any opportunities to use these or other motions to help build a strong defense in your case. If you would like to learn more about our approach to criminal defense or get a free initial case evaluation, please contact us at 310-342-8254.