Motion or Petition to Reduce Charges
A motion is a request made to a judge. A court motion can be made before a trial, during a trial or after a trial. They can be made verbally during a trial, like you see on court TV shows, or they can be made in writing.
Court Motions Before Trial
Motions are extremely important in defining a criminal case. It’s one of the first things your defense attorney will review: which motions he or she can bring to improve your situation. Your attorney may be able to get your case dismissed altogether with a “motion to dismiss complaint.” He or she may ask the judge to modify your bail downward with a “motion to modify bail.”
Court Motions Relating to Charges
To understand the charges against you, your attorney may file a “motion for bill of particulars” to request that the judge require the prosecutor to detail the charges and the reason behind them. If the prosecutor has an informant, your attorney can “motion to disclose the identity of an informant” so that person’s motives can be called into question.
Once this information is known, your lawyer may make a “motion to reduce charges” because he or she believes that the charges being brought against you are too severe. For example, your attorney may ask for a case to be charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
If a conviction on prior criminal charges could cause you to face enhanced penalties, your lawyer may “motion to strike a prior conviction” from the record so that conviction is not considered during the sentencing phase.
Court Motions Regarding Evidence
A “motion for discovery” is a formal request for the prosecution to turn over all evidence. And a “motion to preserve evidence” forces the prosecutor to preserve evidence until your defense attorney can evaluate it.
A “motion to suppress evidence” may be critical to your defense if the police obtained evidence illegally. If the prosecutor finds a way to introduce that inadmissible evidence, the judge will order a “motion to strike testimony from the record.” The jurors are not to consider that evidence in their decision-making. If the prosecution shouts out inadmissible evidence or testimony, the judge will order a motion to strike testimony, which essentially orders jurors to forget what they just heard.
If enough evidence is suppressed, there may not be cause to bring a criminal charge against you, in which case your lawyer will “motion for dismissal” because the prosecution has failed to prove your guilt.
Post-Trial Court Motions
If the jury returns a guilty verdict, your defense attorney can file a motion asking the judge to overturn the jury’s verdict. This motion is rarely granted. A defense attorney can also motion for a new trial or motion to appeal a conviction.
Contact Our Utah Criminal Law Attorneys
Since 1993, the criminal defense attorneys at Greg Smith and Associates have been fighting to protect the rights of people accused of crimes in Salt Lake City and surrounding communities in Utah.
Our lead attorneys have prosecutorial experience, and one was even a police officer trainer. Whether you are facing a first-time charge of drug possession or could face prison time for murder, we are prepared to take your case as far as it can go. We have experience in state and federal courts and in Utah appeals courts.
Contact a Utah criminal law attorney at Greg Smith and Associates to schedule a free initial consultation at our West Jordan or Park City law office. You can call us any time at 801-651-1512, even on holidays.