Criminal Court Process: PretrialWhen one goes through the criminal court process in the State of California, arguments, known as pre-trial motions, follow the preliminary hearing, specifically after that person pleads “not guilty” to the criminal charge or charges against him or her. The pre-trial motions are made in front of a judge before a trial takes place. The pretrial process often serves as a time for the case to be resolved, through negotiations that take place between the prosecuting attorney and the criminal defense attorney. This means a number of cases end at pre-trial and a trial does not take place.

What are pre-trial motions?

Primarily, pre-trial motions are requests made by the attorneys on the case, asking the judge to keep certain evidence, pieces of information and/or witnesses from being part of the trial to ensure that the trial will be done fairly. It serves as a time for information on the case to be shared by both parties and often, for even a plea bargain to be reached. A criminal defense attorney may even use the pretrial period as an opportunity to ask the judge to dismiss the case, making an argument to defend the request. The California defense attorney may rely on Penal Code 995, which governs motions to set aside a charge or Penal Code 1538.5, which outlines the suppression of evidence, when petitioning the judge on behalf of his or her client. The pretrial process prepares the prosecution and defense for the upcoming trial, showing them what physical evidence and testimonies can be used.

Pre-trial Motions A Defense Attorney Could Make

A criminal defense attorney often will make a pre-trial motion based on California Penal Code 1538.5 This penal code allows for evidence to be suppressed if it was obtained illegally. Perhaps, the defense attorney believes an unlawful search occurred, leading to the evidence the prosecuting attorney would like to present at the trial. He or she would make the motion to suppress the evidence, which could result in a weakening of the case against the defendant.

A California criminal defense attorney also will commonly use the pre-trial to make a motion to dismiss a case. He or she will do so on the grounds of California Penal Code 995. This code allows for the dismissal of a case in which charges were not filed legally. A defense attorney will make the motion to dismiss during the pretrial when he or she believes the case lacks probable cause for the charge or charges against the defendant. If the judge agrees with the defense attorney’s argument, he or she may drop the charge or charges at hand.

Help Through The Criminal Court Process

There are a number of additional pre-trial motions a criminal defense attorney could bring up to a judge to ultimately keep a matter from going to trial. If you have been arrested recently, do not go through the criminal court process without a California criminal defense attorney you can trust by your side, working on your behalf. Call for a free consultation to learn how my office could be of help to you today.