The use of DUI pre-trial motions allows your top DUI attorney to raise specific concerns and questions to the judge assigned to your case before your drunk driving trial. In an attempt to better define what issues and facts have to be decided at trial by either a jury or the judge, DUI pre-trial motions may be filed and heard before your trial begins. These concerns and questions are framed by the written motions, and because they typically are ruled upon before the trial starts, they are called pre-trial motions. The answers the judge gives to these questions, called “rulings,” often determine whether or not your DUI case even goes to trial, and how much negotiating room your DUI attorney has with the prosecution to get your charges reduced. Pre-trial motions may also assist the parties and the judge to determine an appropriate DUI penalties if you are convicted for DUI.
DUI Motions in Limine
A motion in limine (Latin: threshold) is a request made at the start of your DUI trial requesting the judge rule that certain police evidence may not be introduced in trial. An easy way to remember what “in limine” means is to think of this motion as being one to “LIMIT” the other side in some fashion.
Motions in limine are very common in criminal DUI trials where the admissibility of police evidence is subject to constitutional or statutory limitations, such as suppression of your statements made without reading your Miranda rights to you. In a litigation-oriented DUI-DWI practice, these are the most common and most successful motions brought before the court. Motions can be asserted either in writing or orally if your state allows both formats.
The purpose of a motion in limine is to prevent certain evidence (usually proposed testimony) from ever being mentioned once your DWI case is in front of the jury. If this motion is granted, neither the prosecution nor your DUI defense attorney may mention the prohibited subject. Both sides must caution their witnesses against mentioning or referring to the subject of the prohibited evidence. It must not be brought to the attention of the jury. If a witness violates the judge’s order, a mistrial can be granted by the judge, thereby stopping your DUI trial.
DUI Motion to Suppress
A motion to suppress can be filed on your behalf to disallow certain evidence, usually some form of tangible property or “thing,” from ever being considered by the jury. For example, your fully-prepared DUI attorney can file a motion to suppress a written confession that you allege was signed while drunk or given to police officers without the benefit of the reading of your Miranda rights.
Different than a motion in limine, a motion to suppress generally must be made in writing, and the motion also must raise a constitutional issue. You will know that your DUI attorney has made this kind of motion when you receive a copy of all DUI pre-trial motions filed on your behalf.