Motion Hearings in Montgomery County DUI Cases
A motion hearing is an opportunity for the court to determine what evidence will be admitted during the course of a trial.
A person facing a DUI charge might file a motion to exclude information such as the results of a breathalyzer test, which is often the most significant piece of evidence in a case. Usually, arguments made by the defense attorney in a motion hearing for a Montgomery County DUI case focus on a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. A DUI attorney will argue that unconstitutional evidence be kept out of the trial.
Filing a Motion
A motion hearing for a DUI case is usually scheduled on the same day the trial is scheduled. Particularly at the district court level, one does not need to file a request for a separate motion hearing. Instead, the motion hearing could be made verbally during the course of a trial or before the trial starts.
Motions are often filed in advance of the court date in circuit court cases so that more substantial responses can be given. The other party may respond to a motion by filing their response to the motion in writing, explaining why the request made in the original motion is inappropriate.
Motion to Suppress Evidence
A motion to suppress evidence is a request to the court to keep particular pieces of evidence from being considered during the course of a trial.
The defense makes a motion to the judge requesting that certain pieces of information or evidence are suppressed or that some other action be taken to keep the evidence from trial. The motion may be based on law, fact, or another issue to raise with the court about fairness or due process that should be considered before the judge or jury makes a decision.
The most important evidence is a breath test result or the results of the field sobriety test. A defense attorney may use a motion to explain to a judge why evidence or information was collected unfairly or illegally and should be kept out of the evidence.
Motion to Compel Discovery
A motion to compel discovery is used when the state has not provided adequate discovery to the defense. According to the rules laid out by Maryland law, the prosecution is required by law to turn over discovery documents within a specified amount of time.
A party could file a motion to compel asking the judge to get involved in ordering the other party to provide information or discovery under threat of sanction. The sanctions could be minor or might be a full dismissal of the case in situations when the prosecution does not provide discovery in a timely fashion or give the defense an opportunity to adequately prepare for resolution or trial.
A motion to compel discovery usually requires the moving party file something in writing with the court, explaining when they requested discovery and what discovery they believe remains outstanding. The motion includes why the requesting party believes they are entitled to the evidence and whether the motion is based on the rules or special circumstances specific to the case. The defense submits the motion to the judge, who makes a decision about a hearing to determine whether any discovery rules were violated and how to resolve the situation.
Additional motions may vary on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances specific to the case. The other party may need additional information to adequately prepare for trial. Perhaps the court needs to be notified to demonstrate why a case should be dismissed, delayed, or some other resolution might be sought based on a specific circumstance in the matter.
Role of an Attorney
Filing a motion could be essential to building a strong defense. Unfortunately, most laypeople do not understand the procedures of court to file a motion on their own. A DUI lawyer who knows the intricacies of the court process could represent an individual during motion hearings and preventing unconstitutional evidence from influencing a case.