Legal Motions for Criminal Cases in Wisconsin
There are two ways to fight any case in criminal court. The first we all know about, and that is a trial with a judge and jury. The second, far more common way is called a Motion.
What is a Motion?
A motion is when an experienced criminal defense attorney fights the legality of something that happened during the investigation and arrest. Maybe your rights were violated, and you were pulled over illegally. Maybe the police failed to read your rights and are now trying to introduce a statement you made. Perhaps law enforcement conducted an illegal search of your home or vehicle.
Challenging any issues like these is done in what we call a motion hearing. Once your criminal defense attorneys have a chance to review all the evidence in your case, including police reports, and discuss the evidence with you, we will be talking about any kind of motion issues we see as an option.
Not every case has a motion issue and not all motion issues may be a winning case. It is important that your criminal defense attorney is experienced in how to identify, research, and defend a client on motion cases.
A legal motion begins when your criminal defense lawyer files paperwork with the court and sends a copy to the District Attorney’s Office stating what happened and why it is wrong. It must also make clear what your defense team wants the judge to do if the court agrees with them. For instance, if certain evidence or statements are suppressed (i.e. not allowed to be used), should the entire case against you be dismissed? After filing the paperwork, sometimes the prosecution decides to reply in writing. Many times they choose not to reply in writing and instead make their arguments in court at the motion date.
What Happens at the Motion Hearing?
At a motion hearing, sometimes officers and other witnesses are called to testify in court. Your criminal defense attorneys will then have the opportunity to cross examine those witnesses and ask them their own questions. It is almost impossible to redo these hearings a second time in case something is mishandled or goes wrong, so it's critical to have an experienced attorney representing you. Not all motion hearing require live witnesses and evidence to be brought forth by the state. In every case, both sides, the defense and the prosecution, will be arguing to the judge about why they are right and what needs to be done.
Ultimately, a judge will make a decision, sometimes at the very end of the motion hearing and other times by setting a new court date some days, weeks, or even months later to allow them to digest and consider all of the evidence and legal arguments made by either side before issuing a decision. Once a decision has been made, it is possible to ask the court to reconsider before the case moves forward. There may be a few other options when it comes to filing what is called an Interlocutory Appeal. An Interlocutory Appeal is where your defense attorney will ask a higher appellate court to review the case before the case is allowed to proceed. Contact your experienced criminal defense attorneys to learn more about this.
Knowing when and how to file and defend clients on motions is critical to a case. Everybody knows about a jury trial, but very few understand the importance of a motion. Contact your criminal defense law team today to learn more about how we can use motions in your defense.