A pre-trial motion is a written argument made to the court before a trial. Federal criminal defense attorneys make these motions to try to give you an edge in the case before your case ends up in front of a jury.
These motions also help the trial proceed more efficiently by hashing out several issues before the trial. The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure state that a party may raise by pretrial motion any defense, objection, or request that the court can determine without trial on the merits of the presented argument.
There are three common pre-trial motions.
A Motion to Dismiss attempts to convince a judge that there is insufficient evidence to prove a crime occurred.
If the judge agrees, the case is over. You won’t have a criminal record (though you may have an arrest record), and you won’t serve any jail time.
Federal motions to dismiss aren’t often successful. The federal government has a lot of resources to throw into any given investigation, and they can often gather evidence for years before they bring charges. Nevertheless, your attorney may make the attempt.
A Motion to Suppress is a motion that points out a problem with the evidence. Most often, we’ve found that law enforcement obtained the evidence by violating your Fourth Amendment rights.
Every piece of evidence that we can suppress strengthens your case by weakening the prosecution’s case.
These motions are somewhat more successful, but not always. Again, federal law enforcement has the resources and time they need to take their time and obtain evidence correctly. Nevertheless, if we find any flaw, we’re going to try to take advantage of it.
You might be surprised to learn that change of venue requests happen in federal cases, but they do. Sometimes pre-trial publicity is more pronounced in certain states or cities.
Changing the venue helps to ensure an impartial jury and a fair trial.
We can file many other pre-trial motions on your behalf, and many of them can help your case. Of course, as you can imagine, determining whether it is proper and strategic to file a motion can be a complicated matter.
If you’re facing federal charges, turn to a federal criminal defense expert. The team at Koch Law is ready to help you. Schedule a consultation today.