Los Angeles Criminal Motions

Gavel and handcuffs with red legal book

When a defendant has been charged with a felony or misdemeanor offense in Los Angeles, it may be necessary to file legal motions pertaining to specific issues or arguments that the defense is making. A motion is a written summary of the facts of a case and pertinent legal arguments that is submitted to the Court and to opposing counsel. In many cases, the Court will have a hearing regarding the motion where the defense and prosecution are allowed to present witnesses and evidence and to argue the merits of the motion. Ultimately, the judge will rule on the motion and this ruling will be binding on the parties. In some cases, if the defense motion is granted the case may be dismissed or the prosecution may be unable to move forward, which would usually result in a dismissal. The following is a partial list of just some of the most common legal motions filed and argued in Los Angeles criminal cases.

1. Motion to Suppress Evidence – California Penal Code Section 1538.5 PC

Whenever there is a search or seizure issue, it may be necessary to file a motion to suppress under California Penal Code Section 1538.5 PC. The United States and California Constitutions place limitations on warrantless searches and seizures. If the police did not comply with the law when conducting a search or stopping a suspect, the resulting evidence may be suppressed. In these cases, the case is usually dismissed because the prosecution is unable to move forward. Motions to suppress are common in DUI cases where there may have been insufficient reasonable or probable cause to stop the defendant’s vehicle. These are also filed in drug cases where police made an unauthorized entry or conducted an unauthorized search of a defendant’s home, office or vehicle. These motions are typically filed where a warrantless search is involved.

2. Motion to Dismiss – California Penal Code Section 995 PC

When a defendant has been held to answer to criminal charges after his or her preliminary hearing, the defense has a chance to file a motion to dismiss the charges pursuant to California Penal Code Section 995 PC. Both the prosecution and defense will receive a copy of the preliminary hearing transcript and will have a chance to review it. A 995 motion can be granted if there was insufficient probable cause to hold the defendant to answer to the offenses charged in the Information or if there was a significant procedural error during the preliminary hearing that denied the defendant a fundamental right. It is important to remember that even if the defendant’s 995 motion is granted, the prosecution does has a chance to refile felony charges under the “two dismissal rule,” which only prohibits refiling charges if a case has been dismissed twice. Misdemeanor charges that are dismissed would be unable to be refiled.

3. Serna Motion – Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Speedy Prosecution

A defendant has a right to a speedy prosecution. This applies even where a case has been filed but has been in warrant status for several years. If the prosecution has taken no steps to execute the warrant and the defendant can show that he or she was unaware of the charges or the warrant, the judge may dismiss the charges against the defendant for lack of speedy prosecution.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense and want to know more about potential criminal motions that may be appropriate, it is imperative that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who knows how to effectively litigate all types of criminal motions.

For more information about Los Angeles criminal motions, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut at the Kraut Criminal & DUI Lawyers located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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