What is a Pretrial Motion?

Being arrested and charged for violating the law can be scary and intimidating, especially if you don’t have a skilled legal representative to guide you. Lawyers from a reputable criminal litigation law firm in Seattle can help you develop effective defense strategies to enhance the chances of your charges being dropped or the penalties being reduced.

One of the strategies your lawyers can use is filing a pre-trial motion. It is a written pleading asking the judge to take specific actions concerning a criminal case. The proceedings of a pre-trial motion can dramatically affect the outcome of your case, depending on the particular requests of the motion.

The pre-trial phase starts with your arrest and booking, where the law enforcement officer records your personal information, takes your fingerprints, and captures a mugshot. You’re then held in custody until the arraignment.

What Are the Different Types of Pre-Trial Motions?

After evaluating the details of your criminal charges, Seattle criminal justice lawyers can determine the most appropriate motion to file:

Motion to Suppress

A motion to suppress evidence could dramatically impact your case, possibly leading to the charges being dismissed. The motion is a request to the judge to stop a piece of evidence against you because it was obtained illegally.

For example, if law enforcers searched your house without a search warrant, your lawyer could have the evidence suppressed. Without enough evidence to prove your guilt, it can be complex for the prosecutor to prove their case against you.

In another instance, your lawyer could file a pre-trial motion to exclude your statement if they determine you gave it without your Miranda rights being read. Another argument in a motion to suppress is to question the lawfulness of a stop or arrest.

Motions in Limine

A motion in limine requests the judge to dismiss certain pieces of evidence or a reference to a topic that could lead to unfair prejudice against you. The excluded evidence could include implications through witness opinion on intent or hearsay. If the court grants the motion, any such evidence can only be mentioned after a hearing to determine its admissibility.

The motion should outline the facts and law to support your claim for relief, and the prosecution has about ten days to respond. Your defense should be given the right to a final written reply

Discovery Motion

Your criminal defense attorneys in Seattle can request crucial information for trial preparation to ensure a fair case presentation. The motion asks the judge to order the prosecutor to turn over evidence that may prove your innocence or which is required by law.

If the prosecutor doesn’t comply, your Seattle criminal justice lawyers could file a motion to compel the prosecutor to provide the necessary evidence. In the motion, your lawyers could also request a protective order to limit who can see specific items and how they can be used. The aim at this point is not to win but to get the truth that can help you prepare for trial.

Motion for Supplemental Discovery

If your case entails forensic science evidence, your criminal justice attorneys in Seattle can file this motion to access the underlying data used to perform tests and analysis in your case. Collecting this type of evidence entails traveling to the State Police Crime Laboratory to evaluate different documents and studies related to the facility.

Analysis of this type of evidence requires specialized training and experience, and your attorneys may engage various defense experts for proper forensic interpretation that could overturn your case’s outcome.

Motion for a Change of Venue

The venue is where the trial will occur, often in a local court for most criminal cases. However, if your case is a high-profile matter, you may request a change of venue to ensure you get access to a fair trial, mainly depending on the evidence presented.

Sometimes, a case may be subjected to the public eye through video recordings, media exposure, or statements by the police or victim. In such circumstances, the jury’s judgment may also be tainted by what they see or hear, making them biased in their opinion on your guilt or innocence.

That may put you at risk of an unfair trial by the jury. If your Seattle criminal defense attorneys believe the potential jurors’ prejudice would deprive you of a fair trial, they can file a motion for a change of venue to protect your rights.

Motion to Dismiss the Case or Charges

A motion to dismiss is a request to the court to drop certain charges or the entire case. One reason for this motion is significant delays in the trial, based on your right to a speedy trial. Your lawyers may also file the motion if there is a constitutional challenge to the statute on which the charges are based. An unconstitutional statute can’t be used as a basis to convict.

If the motion is granted, you would have the best-case scenario as you don’t have to go to trial. It would also save you from the expense and embarrassment of a trial. However, check with your criminal litigation law firm if the prosecutor can file charges again.

An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Helping You File a Pre-trial Motion

Criminal cases are complex, and it would help to have skilled legal representation to protect your rights. One way to defend yourself against criminal charges is to file a pre-trial motion, challenging various aspects of the evidence, charges, or witness testimony.

The Seattle criminal justice attorneys at The Law Offices of Kevin Trombold can take up your case immediately after your arrest to build a strong defense strategy. We know that time is of the essence, and filing a pre-trial motion can increase the chances of a favorable outcome. Call us at 206-590-7667 to schedule a FREE in-depth case evaluation.