Between the preliminary hearing and the actual start of your criminal trial is the pre-trial motions. This is where most criminal cases are either won or lost because pre-trial motions allow both the prosecutor and the defense to strengthen their case, gather or suppress evidence, and encourage the other side to consider a plea.
As you prepare for your criminal case in Columbus, Ohio, here are some of the pre-trial motions you and your defense attorney should consider. While the reasons and legal arguments involved with filing these motions will vary based on the circumstances, building your defense strategy should be your top priority.
Motion To Dismiss
This is a motion that attorneys often use to ask the court to throw out a weak case. If the prosecutor has minimal evidence tying you to the crime, the judge may agree that the case should not move forward. Cases may also be dismissed because of the following:
- Lack of jurisdiction
- Overwhelming lack of evidence
- Pre-settlement trial
Exclusion of Physical Evidence
Physical evidence can be damning in a criminal case, and in some situations, defense attorneys will ask the court to exclude some items. If evidence was collected illegally, without a search warrant, or probable cause, the defense attorney might ask to have it excluded. This ensures that the evidence cannot be used against you in court.
Consider an individual who gets pulled over for no apparent reason. They were driving safely and under the speed limit, their tags were up-to-date, and they were not acting suspiciously. The officers search their car and find drug paraphernalia. The initial stop may have been illegal, and the search was also likely illegal if it occurred without consent.
In this case, a motion to exclude the drug paraphernalia may get the evidence the officers found excluded.
Exclusion of Witness Testimony
Your attorney may move to have witness testimony excluded. This can be helpful when witnesses are biased, unreliable, or otherwise unhelpful in a court case. For example, the court may exclude a witness who claims to have firsthand knowledge of you committing a crime if the witness has advanced dementia and cannot be considered a reliable source of information.
This can be very helpful in a criminal case, as juries view eyewitness testimony as very reliable. This is even though eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, as one’s memories can easily be influenced by others’ memories of the same events, media coverage, and time.
A Brady motion requires the prosecution to turn over evidence to the defense. This ensures that the government is forced to hand over exonerating evidence.
As you can imagine, prosecutors are not generally in a rush to provide the defense with evidence that can weaken their case. Knowing what evidence the other side has against you can help your attorney plan their next steps.
For example, if the other side has evidence showing that you had no link to the crime, your attorney might move to have the case dismissed. If the other side has evidence that weakens their argument, your attorney can use that evidence to strengthen your case.
Motion To Change Venue
A motion to change venue is useful in highly publicized cases. Every community has at least one case that everyone from the community is familiar with, and a motion to change venue is ideal for that type of situation.
When a case is widely publicized, and everyone knows about it, it is tough to find an impartial jury. Some might claim that it’s impossible to get a fair jury. A motion to change venue allows your case to be tried elsewhere, in a place where you have a better shot at a fair trial.
Call LHA Now To Review Your Case
When you are accused of a crime, you have rights. Protect them and your future by hiring Luftman, Heck & Associates. We will assess your case from every angle, determine if any pre-trial motions would benefit your case, and passionately advocate for the best possible outcome.