5 Different Pretrial Motions Your Lawyer Might Use

Being involved in a criminal case can get confusing when you don't understand all the ins-and-outs of court proceedings. You might hear your lawyer talk about filing different motions, including pretrial motions. You should be aware of the different types of pretrial motions that your criminal lawyer might file so that you are more aware of what is going on in your legal case.

Relocate Trial

There is a wide array of reasons your lawyer might want to have your trial relocated as a pretrial motion. First and foremost, the reason that covers the most ground is the supposition that you will not receive a fair trial from an impartial jury in the court in question. Your lawyer could belabor several arguments to prove his or her point. The county court in question might have a history of racism while you or the defendant in question might be a person of color or the person in question might have a bit of a reputation around town as a roustabout in the county in which he or she might be being tried, for example.

Dismiss The Case

The notion of your lawyer calling for the case to be dismissed as a pretrial motion and this pretrial motion being granted by the judge in question is perhaps the greatest bit of news a potential defendant can hear. Once again, an attorney might employ this as a pretrial motion for several reasons, the most prominent reason being a lack of evidence. Your lawyer also might make a motion to dismiss the case for improper jurisdiction or if you were improperly served. For this pretrial motion, both parties will present their evidence to the court and the judge will decide if the case can be dismissed.

Exclude Evidence

Before the trial begins, your attorney may belabor the judge to have evidence excluded from the trial. Usually, this is committed under the rubric of relevancy. There might be some pieces of evidence that the prosecution wishes to use against your favor, but might be irrelevant to the case. For example, if you are being put on trial for murder and the prosecution wishes to call a witness to the stand who is going to claim that you were mean to cats, this is irrelevant evidence. This is not say it could not be damaging evidence, as the jury might take to heart your proclivity – or lack thereof – towards cats when deciding whether or not you are guilty of murder.

Exclude Defendant's Statement or Confession

There might be a case where, as a pretrial motion, your attorney requests that your statement or confession be withdrawn from the record. There is usually something an attorney has to prove in these cases and that is the fact that you, as the defendant, were coerced into the statement. Coercion does not have be proven on the grounds of physical violence or the potential of physical violence on behalf of law enforcement, but rather, can be proven on psychological grounds or depriving the defendant from water or food for hours on end.

Motion to Compel

In all court cases, the prosecution must turn over all evidence for the defense or district attorney in order for them to examine it (and vice versa). However, there might be cases where one party is withholding evidence. A pretrial motion to compel the other party to grant access to this evidence can be levied.

Talk to your lawyer if you have any questions about any pretrial motions he may file, but hopefully this list has given you a bit more insight into what sort of motions can be filed in your case.