Criminal Pre-Trial Motions

Crime rates are up in California, according to the FBI’s Crime Statistics Report for 2015.
According to Sacramento’s KFBK News Channel, the increase in violent crime was 7.6 percent, more than double the rate of the US as a whole. Some are blaming Proposition 47’s treatment of prisoners, setting free criminals who should remain jailed. Other factors are cited as well, but as police are cracking down, the importance of a strong San Diego criminal defense attorney becomes clearer. One way these experienced lawyers fight for the rights of defendants is through motions during the pretrial phase of a criminal case. Here’s how they work.

Pretrial Motions in General

If you’ve entered a not guilty plea in connection with a criminal matter, your will enter the pretrial stage of court proceedings. The general purpose of this phase is to give both prosecuting and defense attorneys the opportunity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case; both sides may also discuss potential plea bargains.
In addition, the parties will engage in discovery during the pretrial process. Discovery is how the prosecution and defense lawyers obtain evidence to be used at your trial. In San Diego, discovery rules extend to both sides of the case, so attorneys will exchange with each other the evidence they intend to introduce at trial.

Different issues revealed in discovery and the pretrial process may provide the basis of motions, which can be used to your advantage in court.

Pretrial Motions as Part of Your Defense

When a prosecuting or defense attorney wants the court to do something, they will file a motion requesting specific action. There are a few different types of motions your criminal defense attorney may use to protect your rights.

· Motion to Suppress: When your attorney wants to keep certain evidence out of court, a motion to suppress may be appropriate. A common argument is that the evidence was obtained through an illegal search and seizure. If granted, the evidence cannot be used in court, potentially weakening the prosecutor’s case against you.
· Motion to Compel: If the prosecution possesses some evidence against you and will not release it, your defense attorney will file a motion to compel the other side to do so.
· Pitchess Motion: When you have reason to believe that there was misconduct by the arresting officer in your case, your attorney may use a Pitchess motion to gain access to that officer’s personnel file. The information may provide the basis for a claim that there was profiling, excessive force, or other issues.
· Motion to Dismiss: This type of motion requests the court to dismiss all or some of the charges against you, usually because the evidence fails to show probable cause that you are guilty of the crime.

With crime on the rise, it’s increasingly critical for criminal defendants to retain an experienced qualified criminal defense attorney in California. These lawyers know the law and the various phases of a trial, including the pre-trial stages when motion practice can result in favorable outcomes. Your risk of fines and prisons is high unless you have an aggressive legal advocate on your side. If you’ve been charged with a crime, contact a qualified criminal attorney in San Diego to discuss the specifics of your case.

Ozols Law Firm
8880 Rio San Diego Dr. #22
San Diego, CA