Police do make mistakes when detaining you, making an arrest, or investigating crimes. Prosecuting attorneys may also be guilty of errors during the pre-trial and trial process. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not a mistake, and officials engage in intentional misconduct that affects your case.
However, while these issues may violate your rights under federal law and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, they don’t automatically enter the courtroom. Even when you have multiple defenses or grounds to have the charges dropped, you could still be convicted because such matters were never properly brought before the court.
Therefore, the key is to make sure the judge addresses them, and the strategy is through motion practices. You can trust your Virginia criminal defense attorney to handle the process, but an overview may be useful.
Motion Practice Basics
In general terms, a motion is a formal request for the presiding judge to take some action. The Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia describe motions in general terms, such what parties can request by motion, how they can be appealed, and the standard for granting them. Motions can be oral during a hearing or trial, which may require the judge to issue a ruling on the spot.
However, in many criminal cases, a motion is in writing. The document typically describes the applicable law, how it affects your rights, and what you want the court to do about it.
Types of Motions in Virginia Felony Cases
There are very specific topics covered by motions, and multiple motion strategies to achieve your intended objectives. Local court rules, like those that apply in the General District Court of Henrico County, go into detail on motion practice. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your criminal defense attorney may file:
Motion to Dismiss: There may be grounds to request the court to dismiss the charges before trial, such as because the prosecutor doesn’t have enough evidence to move forward with the case.
Motion to Suppress Evidence: If information was obtained through misconduct by police, you can request that the judge toss it out of court. This type of motion is often related to a violation of your civil right against unlawful search and seizure. It could potentially also lead to motion for dismissal, since the prosecution’s case is weaker without key evidence.
Motion to Compel Evidence: In some cases, the prosecution may attempt to keep certain evidence out of court – perhaps because it undermines the allegations against you. You can move the judge to force release of this information, which may exculpate you.
Discuss Felony Charges with a Virginia Criminal Defense Attorney
In some Virginia felony charges, motion practice could be the difference between a conviction or acquittal. At minimum, motions may lead to reduced charges or decreased criminal penalties. To learn more about how a criminal defense lawyer can assist with motion practice, please contact Leary Law at (703) 359-7111 or check us out online.