Orange County criminal defense motions
Court can be a confusing place. You often hear attorneys using what seems to be a foreign language. Lawyers often talk in penal code numbers or case names. This can make it hard on a criminal defendant who may not know what is going on in their own case. Our Orange County criminal defense attorneys will take the time to explain your case to you. We will explain all the legal terms in simple to understand language. Call 714-361-4191 now to see how one of our Orange County criminal defense motions attorneys can help.
Orange County criminal defense motions
What is a motion?
You will often hear attorneys say the word motion. In layman’s terms, a motion is a request by an attorney to have the judge do something. An attorney can make this request during the pretrial or trial phase.
A defense attorney may ask the judge to do quite a few things. For example, a defense attorney may ask the court to exclude illegally obtained evidence. The judge will then either “grant” the motion or “deny” the motion. Granting your motion means the judge agrees with your attorney. For example, if the judge grants your motion to exclude evidence, then the district attorney will not allowed to use that evidence against you.
A criminal defense motion can make all the difference in a case. Winning a motion can destroy the District Attorney’s case. Successful motions may result in better deals, dismissal of one more more counts, or a dismissal of the entire case. Therefore, it is important to have a criminal defense motions attorney fighting for you. Call 714-361-4191 to discuss how our Orange County criminal defense motions attorney can help you.
The following is a list of common motions your attorney may make by case name. This list does not include every possible motion. Furthermore, this list is not intended to fully explain each motion. Instead, this list intends to explain some legal terms you may overhear in your case.
Common criminal defense motions
If you have a co-defendasnt, a criminal defense attorney can ask the court to (1) redact the co-defendant’s prejudicial statements or (2) sever the codefendant’s joint trial. But, the statements must implicate you in the joint trial. Severing the joint trial allows you to have your own trial. Bruton v.United States (1968) 391 U.S. 123; People v. Cortez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 101, 129; People v. Aranda (1965) 63 Cal.2d 518.
Your defense attorney can ask the court to exclude your prior convictions for the purpose of impeachment. (1) The prior conviction must not involve moral turpitude, or (2) admission of the conviction must be prejudicial to the defendant under Evidence Code section 352. People v. Beagle (1972) 6 Cal.3d 441; People v. Castro, (1985) 38 Cal.3d 301.
If you face a “status” enhancement, your attorney can ask the court to bifurcate the trial. In other words, the judge will divide your trial into two parts. Your “status enhancement” is heard separately from the rest of your case. Bifurcating the trial will limit jury prejudice against you. This is true because the jury will not hear about your “status” enhancement. This prevents the jury from unfairly sentencing you more severely. People v. Bracamonte (1981) 119 Cal.App.3d 644; See also People v. Calderon (1994) 9 Cal.4th 69.
The defense attorney may ask the court to reduce your felony wobbler to a misdemeanor under Penal Code section 17(b)(5). If granted, the District Attorney cannot refile your case as a felony. Esteybar v. Municipal Court (1971) 5 Cal.3d 119.
Your defense attorney may ask the court to have a new lineup for identification. The identification must be material. In addition, there must be a reasonable likelihood of mistaken identification a new line up can resolve. Furthermore, the attorney must make this request in a timely manner. If done, the new lineup can help resolve the issue of the prior mistake. Evans v. Superior Court (1974) 11 Cal.3d 617.
Your attorney can ask the court to “quash” a search or arrest warrant. The officer’s declaration or affidavit in support of the warrant must contain a false statement the officer knew was false or was made in reckless disregard of the truth. Furthermore, the false statement must be necessary/material for the magistrate to find probable cause. If granted, the warrant is void. Franks v. Delaware (1978) 438 US 154.
Your attorney can ask for sanctions including a dismissal of your case if the District Attorney fails to preserve favorable evidence to the defendant. The evidence must be material to your case. People v. Hitch (1974) 12 Cal.3d 641; California v. Trombetta (1984) 467 US 479; Arizona v. Youngblood (1988) 488 US 51.
Your attorney can ask the court to exclude scientific or experiential tests if they have not been accepted or recognized in the scientific community. People v. Kelly (1976) 17 Cal. 3d 24; Frye v. United States (DC Cir 1923) 293 F. 1013.
Your attorney can ask the court to turn over informant confidential information if the information is material to determining guilt or innocence. People v. Luttenberger (1990) 50 Cal.3d 1.
The defendant can ask the court to fire his appointed attorney (generally the public defender). The court will then assign them another appointed attorney. However, the defendant can only ask for new counsel under two conditions. First, the defendant may show the appointed attorney is providing ineffective assistance of counsel. Additionally, the defendant may show a conflict exists which would likely result in ineffective assistance of counsel. People v. Marsden (1970) 2 Cal.3d 118.
Your attorney can ask the court to exclude any statements you made while in custody and interrogated by the police. If you are in custody, prior to questioning you have the right to an attorney and the right to remain silent. However, custody does not mean that you have to be under arrest. Instead, the court will look at whether a person in your situation would feel free to leave. If they would feel not free to leave, they are in custody. Once in custody, they must be read their Miranda Rights.
Your attorney can ask the court to dismiss charges if the criminal charge was a result of arbitrary or discriminatory prosecution. But, this is really two motions. First your attorney can ask the district attorney to turn over all discovery including information regarding records of other arrests or prosecutions for the same offense. Next, your attorney will ask the court to dismiss the charges due to unconstitutional prosecution. Murgia v. Municipal Court (1975) 15 Cal.3d 286.
Your attorney can ask the court to disclose the police officer’s employment personnel file. This will allow the attorney to discover any complaints against the police officer. In addition, the complaints may show the officer has used excessive force, has lied in the past, has committed racists acts, or more. Further, the complaints may be used to impeach the credibility of the officer. Pitchess v. Superior Court (1974) 11 Cal.3d 531.
Serna Motion: Your attorney can ask the court to dismiss your case if your right to a speedy trial has been violated. Generally, in a misdemeanor your right to a speedy trial may be violated if the trial does not begin within 1 year. People v. Serna (1985) 40 Cal.3d 239.