Attorney at Law


James Parker
February 28, 2022
Last reviewed by
October 15, 2023

What Are Motions?

A motion is defined as an application to the court made by an attorney that requests that the court make a decision on a certain issue. Motions are decided on by the presiding judge and can be made before, during, or after the trial.

Most motions will be made before a trial begins. These motions, called pretrial motions, are designed to help set the stage for the future trial. During pretrial motions both sides will mostly present motions regarding evidence to the judge. These motions are designed to finely tune exactly which laws are in question, the kinds of evidence that can and cannot be used to argue the case, which issues the court has the authority to adjudicate, and even which experts are allowed to testify. 

Other pretrial motions include motions for dismissal or change of venue. A motion to dismiss makes a legal argument for why particular charges can’t be brought against a particular defendant. If this motion is successful the charges in question, potentially the entire case against the defendant, will be dropped. 

Key Takeaways

  • Motions are a series of arguments made on paper by attorneys asking the court to grant various actions.
  • Motions can be filed before, during, and after the trial to exclude evidence or testimony, compel evidence or statements, seal past activities as irrelevant or prejudicial, or request the case be dropped altogether.
  • Even if a DUI defendant is found guilty, motions can be filed to challenge the results of the trial, request a new trial, or even have the lower court’s decision struck down on appeal.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI offense, an experienced DUI attorney may be able to improve the outcome of your case by leveraging experience, specialized motion practice, and expert testimony.

Motions and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Charges

When facing DUI charges, the pretrial motions can make or break a case before it even begins. The motions that will bear the most weight will be the motions for discovery, suppression, and dismissal.

The discovery process is mandated by law to allow both sides to unearth any evidence that may be needed to prove innocence or guilt. If one side refuses to hand over evidence because they do not believe it is relevant to turn it over, then it can be acquired through a motion to compel. By filing a motion to compel, the judge is presented with an argument about why the testimony or evidence in question is necessary to ensure a fair trial. The other side can file a counter-motion arguing against the motion to compel and the judge will weigh the merits of each argument. 

With a motion to compel, an attorney on behalf of the defendant can request records such as the last time a breathalyzer was calibrated, any history of arrest violations by the arresting officer, or any other evidence thought to be relevant. If these motions produce valuable information, then that new information can be added as evidence to acquit the defendant.

Motions to suppress evidence are useful in ensuring that unnecessarily prejudicial or unethically acquired evidence is not presented. Evidence could be suppressed if it was found in an illegal search or by using unethical practices. If a defendant has a previous criminal record that their attorney believes could be prejudicial, a motion to suppress could prevent that form being known. Even physical evidence such as video of a roadside sobriety test could be suppressed if the attorney representing the defendant makes a compelling motion about how it is unnecessarily prejudicial to their client.

Finally, a motion to dismiss can be used to entirely reject the upcoming trial due to some error with the arrest or pretrial process. This could range from insufficient evidence to failing to Mirandize defendants of their rights. A motion to dismiss can potentially dismiss the entire case before the trial begins.   

Bottom Line

After being charged with a DUI, the correct use of motions can be the difference between innocence and conviction. The way to guarantee the best possible outcome in your case is to contact a DUI attorney.

A DUI attorney can make motions to suppress harmful evidence, discover all relevant facts, move for dismissal of unjust charges, and even file motions to appeal a decision or seal a conviction. Unlike public defenders, a DUI attorney can devote all of their time to their clients and ensure the best possible outcomes.

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