DC DUI Motion Hearing

In a criminal case, when one side, either the defense or the prosecution, has a specific request to make of the judge, that request would often be made by filing a written motion. A written motion can be a request to have the judge suppress evidence, have the judge change a defendant’s conditions of release, or have the judge allow certain evidence that may not be allowable otherwise. A written motion can include any number of types of requests, and it is filed by either the prosecution or the defense attorney.

When one of the sides files the motion, a hearing may be scheduled so the judge can ask any questions to the prosecution or to the defense, or clarify any of the requests in the motion so the judge can make a ruling on the motion. This is referred to as a motion hearing.

Motivations for a Hearing

When a person is facing criminal charges, part of the defense’s job in a criminal case is to make requests of the judge that can be favorable to their client. A defense lawyer might file a motion asking the judge to change their client’s conditions of release. For example, if a defendant is required to take a drug test on a weekly basis as a condition of their release, a defense lawyer may be able to file a motion asking the judge to remove that condition so the person would no longer be required to report to weekly drug testing.

A motion hearing might be scheduled if the judge has any questions about the weekly testing or to hear the government’s position so that the judge can make a formal decision. Motions hearings could also be important if a person’s defense lawyer wants a judge to not permit the prosecution to admit certain evidence.

For example, if the defense believes that the search of a client’s home was unconstitutional, the defense can file a motion asking the judge not to consider the results of that unconstitutional search as part of the case. The government would have the opportunity to respond. A judge could schedule a hearing to ask additional questions, hear any testimony that might be relevant to suppressing the motion, and make a ruling on the case. That ruling could have a significant impact on what kind of evidence the judge or the jury might be able to hear at trial in the case.

Filing a Motion

When one side in a criminal case has a specific request to make to the judge, the first step would be to file a written motion. That written motion would include the request being made, any facts that are relevant to that request, and any relevant law that might apply to those facts. Once a motion has been filed, the other side in the case would have the opportunity to file a written response.

When both sides have filed their motions, the judge could rule on the motion without scheduling a hearing, because the judge has heard, saw, and read all the information needed or could schedule a hearing to hear any additional arguments or testimony that might help make an informed decision.