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Motion Hearings in DC DUI Cases

A motion hearing is a hearing on the day of trial or before trial where the judge decides suppression motions and other motions filed by the defense and the government to narrow issues or deal with issues before trial.

To determine the relevance of a motion hearing in your DC DUI case, it is crucial to consult with an experienced DUI lawyer in DC immediately.

Initial Hearing Process

Initially, the judge will review a suppression hearing where the government calls the police officer to talk about the field sobriety tests that were given.

As part of cross-examination on that issue, the defense attorney attempts to show that the government did not have probable cause based on the field sobriety test results to arrest the driver.

At that point, if the judge sustains or agrees with that argument, everything that follows the arrest is most likely suppressed. It is not usable in the case by the government.

Filing a Motion

When a suppression motion is filed, the prosecutor responds to it. Sometimes, the defense provides a reply, a shorter response to the government’s opposition.

A hearing is scheduled, usually on the day of trial, but sometimes before the trial.

Motion to Suppress Evidence

A motion to suppress evidence in a Washington DC DUI case is a document filed by the defense on constitutional grounds under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments that seeks to prevent the government from using the results of field sobriety tests and statements made by the person on trial.

The objective is to prevent the government from introducing the results of any chemical tests. Once that document is filed, the government files an opposition to it and there is typically a hearing on the motion in a DC DUI case.

The issues that make up a motion to suppress are inherent in any DUI case because they involve police interaction with someone who is arrested and charged.

That is the usual situation in which a motion to suppress is litigated; it is involved in just about every DUI case.

Motion for Summary Judgment

A motion for judgment of acquittal in a DC DUI case takes place after the government’s case is finished at trial.

The defense makes a motion for judgment of acquittal and questions the validity of the evidence in the light most favorable to the government. If the defense attorney makes a successful argument to the judge, the judge must dismiss the charge.

A motion for judgment of acquittal is made in every criminal case, at the end of the government’s case. For example, in a DUI case, there might be an issue of operation.

In other words, the defense can argue that even in the light most favorable to the government, there is not enough evidence to show that the car was legally operated at the time, it was not being driven.

The judge considers the issue and grants a motion for judgment of acquittal in the DC DUI case. The motion for judgment of acquittal cannot be based on credibility grounds because the judge must take into account the evidence in the light most favorable to the government.

Even if it is illogical, it is based on more technical grounds like the issue of operation. For example, even looking at the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, there is no evidence that the person charged was ever in a car. That might be the grounds for dismissal.

Motion to Compel Discovery

A motion to compel discovery is a document filed when informal discovery does not resolve all of the issues. For example, the defense attorney sends a letter to the government identifying and requesting discovery.

If the government does not respond in a way that is satisfactory on certain issues, the attorney persists. When the government continues to refuse to turn over the requested items, the defense attorney files a motion to compel discovery and asks a judge to get involved and to give the attorney the requested discovery items.

Additional Motions

Different motions can be filed during a DC DUI case. There could be a motion to dismiss filed by the defense for any number of reasons such as an issue with calibration or maintenance on a breath test machine.

There can be motions to suppress evidence as discussed. When it is unclear what the conduct was that is the basis of the charge, there is a motion for a bill of particulars that can be filed, although that is fairly unlikely in a DUI case.

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