Pre-trial motions are tools to set the boundaries of a trial. The prosecutor and the defense team usual appear before a court and make pre-trial motions. Attorneys of record do not need to appear to all pre-trial motions. There may be cases when appearance attorneys can appear on their behalf.
What is a Pre-Trial Motion?
Pre-trial motions take place before the case goes to trial. Parties may discuss questions like what physical evidence and testimony can be used, what legal arguments can and cannot be made or reasons for the defendant not to be forced to stand trial.
Sometimes a successful pre-trial motion can change the course of a trial. The following are some common motion types:
- Summary judgment: a judgment entered by a court without a full trial;
- Motion to dismiss: lack of jurisdiction, lack of evidence, settlement before trial or other issues may be a reason to dismiss the case;
- Exclusion of Physical Evidence: if evidence is obtained illegally or beyond the scope of a search warrant, it may be excluded;
- Exclusion of witness testimony: reasons to exclude witness testimony may be a conflict of interest, lack of competence, etc.
- Motion to Change Venue: this may be the case where the jury may be prejudiced against the defendant;
- Motion for the release of evidence: this concerns to the evidence that is materially important to the defense.
What to Do If You Cannot Appear to a Pre-Trial Motion?
An attorney of record does not need to appear in a pre-trial motion if he or she has to come up just with an argument. Appearance attorneys can make statements on their behalf. It will save a lot of time and money for the attorney of record to assign simple tasks to appearance attorneys.
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