Pre-Trial Motions

Defense Lawyer for Criminal Charges in Tampa

At Hanlon Law, we fight for the accused and develop an appropriate strategy to fight the charges or investigation each client is facing. Our strategy may include bringing pre-trial motions. A well-crafted pre-trial motion can save the client time, money, and the emotional anguish and stress associated with going to trial in Tampa. Pre-trial motions can attack various aspects of the prosecution’s case. Through a pre-trial motion, you may be able to prevent certain evidence from being used against you if it was obtained by police in violation of your Constitutional rights. Sometimes, your Tampa criminal defense attorney can get criminal charges dismissed before your case goes to trial.

When can Pre-Trial Motions be Filed?

Motions filed before your case goes to trial are pre-trial motions. Under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 190(c), a motion can be filed at any time to dismiss criminal charges against you if you’ve been granted immunity, tried for the offense, pardoned for the offense, or the prosecution doesn’t dispute the facts and the facts don’t show you may be guilty. Where the undisputed facts don’t show you might be guilty or they reveal a valid defense, such as self-defense in an assault case, your case can be dismissed even before you go to trial.

Pre-Trial Motions

Under Rule 3.190, there are numerous potential pre-trial motions a defendant can make (and that the prosecution can make). Each pre-trial motion by the defense must generally be in writing and signed by the defendant or his attorney, but it is possible to get this requirement waived where there is good cause.

An important pre-trial motion is the motion to dismiss. If the court doesn’t grant additional time, the motion for dismissal must be made either before or during an arraignment. The court has the discretion to allow you to plead and afterward file a motion to dismiss at the time set by the court. Any facts on which the motion to dismiss is based need to be stated specifically.

The state can file a traverse or demurrer to a motion to dismiss and in it set out disputed facts. Any factual matters stated in a defense motion to dismiss are considered admitted, except where the state specifically denies those facts in its traverse.

Another pre-trial motion that may be brought is a motion for continuance. A motion for continuance is made to postpone. The court can grant a continuance at its discretion if you can show good cause and provide a certificate that the motion is made in good faith. For example, if there is surprising, favorable evidence that comes to light, but you need more time to incorporate the new evidence into your defense, and you get word of that evidence before or at the time the case is set for trial, you would make a motion for continuance. It’s possible to make the motion after trial is set, but you’d also have to show good cause for failing to bring the motion for continuance earlier.

One of the most important motions is the motion to suppress evidence in an unlawful search. There are a number of grounds to get evidence suppressed. These include: no probable cause, illegal execution of a warrant, illegal seizure without a warrant, an inadequate warrant, and seizure of property not identified in the warrant. Motions to suppress evidence must clearly state the particular evidence that the motion seeks to get suppressed, why it should be suppressed, and the relevant facts regarding the arrest or other incident.

Another type of motion to suppress is one to suppress a confession or admission that has been illegally obtained. The court can suppress an admission or confession that is gotten illegally from a defendant. For example, where Miranda warnings should have been read while you were in a custodial interrogation, and they weren’t read, this would be valid grounds for a motion to suppress. The motion has to identify what statement or statements should be suppressed, why they should be suppressed, and the relevant facts.

Consult a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney in Tampa

If you are concerned about pre-trial motions in Tampa, it is wise to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Our founder Will Hanlon has represented those accused of criminal acts since 1994. Please contact Hanlon Law at (813) 228-7095 or via our online form.