Pre-Trial Motions in a Colorado DUI Case

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Once you decide that you want to go to trial, you will receive two court dates. The first court date will be a motions hearing. The second court date will be the date of the trial. In some courts, the motions hearing will be set on the same day as the trial. In other courts, the motions hearing will be set prior to the day of trial.

At the motions hearing, you will have the opportunity to narrow down the prosecutor’s case to specific evidence and to specific characters. You can narrow down the prosecutor’s case by filing various motions that will be heard by the judge and will determine what evidence the prosecutor can present at trial. These motions will be heard by the judge at the motions hearing. Common motions that defense attorneys file include motions to compel election of charges, motions to suppress evidence, and motions in limine.

Motion to Compel Election of Charges

The Motion to Compel Election of Charges is a request that the prosecutor select the charges that it will be proceeding on when going to trial. This motion is used in situations where the prosecutor has charged multiple counts of the same offense. For example, the prosecutor may have charged you with multiple types of DUI and DWAI. Before you proceed to trial, you need to know the type of charges that you will defend against. The motion to comple requires the prosecutor to let the defense know what type of DUI he will be proceeding with at trial.

It should be noted that the prosecutor does not have to elect between DUI and DUI per se. In this circumstance, the prosecutor is free to proceed on both charges. If the prosecutor proceeds on both charges and wins on both charges, the court is required to run the sentences together so that you are not punished twice for the same offense.

Motion to Suppress

The Motion to Suppress is filed when your Colorado Defense Attorney wants to keep evidence from being presented. For example, if the prosecutor withholds evidence from your attorney, such as a video of the field sobriety tests, your attorney can ask that the testimony of the police officer be suppressed. The judge will then have to determine whether the violation is so severe that it requires suppressing the police officer’s testimony (i.e. not allowing the police officer to testify against you). In most cases, a successful motion to suppress will limit the prosecutor’s case to a degree where they are forced to dismiss the case.

Motions to Suppress occur most often in the context of Constitutional Violations. For example, if the officer questions you at the station, after arresting you, without reading your Miranda rights, you could ask for your statement to be suppressed.

Motion in Limine

Motions in Limine are the most common type of motion filed in criminal cases. These motions are requests that the prosecutor not be allowed to talk about certain issues in your case. For example, your Colorado Criminal Lawyer may ask that the police officer not be allowed to talk about a prior conviction for DUI because it is highly prejudicial and not relevant to whether you are guilty of DUI on this particular occasion. Likewise, the motion in limine can be used to keep hearsay from being mentioned in court.

Motions in Limine typically do not have to be filed prior to the motions hearing. In general, there is a separate deadline for the motions in limine that is after the motions hearing but before the trial. Then, the motion is argued before the trial begins.

Once the judge has ruled on your motions, you will be ready to proceed to trial. In the next article, we will discuss jury selection, which is the first part of the trial.

The information in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as the creation of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice, please contact an Attorney.

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Nathaniel has worked in criminal law on both sides of the aisle spending time working for the prosecution as well as the defense. Most recently Nathaniel has represented individuals in violent felonies and drug cases. Prior to this work, Nathaniel handled DWIs, Domestic Violence Cases, Property Crimes, and White Collar Crimes. On the prosecutorial side, Nathaniel has most notably worked in Bosnia helping to prosecute individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian War from 1993-1995. In particular, Nathaniel helped in the prosecution of military leaders who arranged for the organized murders and rapes of innocent civilians in various towns in Bosnia. Nathaniel is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Northwestern University, and Phillips Exeter Academy. Google Profile: Nathaniel Baca