Motion Hearings in Fredericksburg DUI Cases

As defined by law, a motion hearing occurs any time a request is made to the court to take some sort of action, to make a ruling. Most motions are made for the court to enter an order, such as an order for discovery. In many cases, a motion is made to continue a case or to ask the court to move the case to a new date. Certain routine motions usually occur very early on. There also can be motions that are unique to a particular case. It is important to have an experienced DUI attorney evaluate the facts of a person’s case and the circumstances surrounding it, including the evidence that was gathered and how it was gathered. The attorney may want those facts to determine what non-routine motions will be necessary in the case. If an individual wants to know more about motion hearings in Fredericksburg DUI cases, they should contact a knowledgeable attorney that could build their case.

What Happens Once a Motion Hearing is Filed?

Once motion hearings in Fredericksburg DUI cases are filed, many of the motions will be heard as part of the motions docket, which considers only the motions, not requiring the defendant to appear. For longer motions, however, the defendant may be required to appear. In those cases, the court will either set an inclusive court date for the motion or will allow the motion to be heard on the trial day that already has been set, avoiding the need for an additional court date. The Commonwealth may or may not file a response to a written motion, but it is required to present evidence in court regarding its position on a particular motion.

Motions to Suppress Evidence Explained

One of the possible motion hearings in Fredericksburg DUI cases are hearings for motions to suppress evidence. A motion to suppress evidence is a claim to the court that the evidence was gathered in violation of a constitutional principle. Such cases could be an unreasonable search that uncovered evidence or a person was interrogated without being read their Miranda rights. That evidence may have been gathered in violation of their constitutional rights. In such cases, that individual may request the court to exclude all of the illegally gathered evidence. In other words, a motion to suppress is a request for the court to exclude certain evidence from trial.

In most DUI cases,  a motion to suppress will be heard on the same day as a trial, when judges will hear the evidence to be used for a trial. Before the trial technically begins, the judge will hear evidence regarding the motion to suppress. In a DUI case, a person may argue that at the time they were arrested, the police officer did not have probable cause for their arrest. Therefore, any evidence gathered after that point could not be used against them. The judge would hear all of the evidence up to the point of arrest and then hear arguments from defense attorney and the prosecutor about why that level of evidence the officer gathered does or does not rise to the level of probable cause. The judge then rules on whether any further evidence may be heard by the court or whether it could be suppressed.

Utility of a Motion to Suppress Evidence in a DUI Case

There are many instances in a DUI case in which a motion to suppress can be useful in order to protect the constitutional rights of the defendant. The most common case regarding a DUI is a motion to suppress evidence gathered at the time of arrest. Before a police officer can arrest someone, they must have probable cause for the arrest. A common defense in a DUI case is to argue to the judge that there was no probable cause at the time of arrest. Many DUI issues regard search and seizure, and in many instances, an individual is interrogated without being informed of their right to remain silent. Many constitutional issues surrounding the evidence may be involved in a DUI case.

What is a Motion to Compel Discovery?

A motion to compel discovery is a request to the court to order the Commonwealth’s attorney or another government official to hand over their evidence in a case. If a motion to compel discovery is filed, it means the court has already ordered discovery and the prosecutor has failed to obey the discovery order as written.

The motion to compel discovery usually is made by the defense attorney presenting to the court the facts leading up to it and what items are required by the defense that have not been turned over. In those cases, the defense attorney asks the court to require that the Commonwealth turn those items over by a certain time.

In a DUI case, a motion to compel discovery might be used if the prosecutor has been unwilling to turn over the evidence or has been unable to turn it over. It may be necessary for the defense attorney to file a motion to compel discovery in order to make the record clear that the discovery was requested and not received.

Additional Motions That Can Be Filed in a DUI Case

In every DUI case, there are any number of things that can lead to motions to be filed before the court, to ask the court to grant an order. In some cases, it may be reasonable to request a court to order the testimony of an investigator and in other cases, it may be necessary to request that certain evidence is limited at trial. Many motions and motion hearings in Fredericksburg DUI cases are considered routine, such as motions for discovery or to continue a case. Other cases may require motions to limit the evidence presented, depending on the nature of the case and the trial. If someone wants to learn more about motion hearings and which motions may benefit their case, they should get in touch with a qualified DUI lawyer that could help.