Pre-Trial Motions

Criminal Defense Lawyer in St. Petersburg

Pre-trial motions can be powerful tools after criminal charges have been brought in St. Petersburg. They may be brought by the defense to attack the prosecutor’s case or to weaken the prosecutor’s evidence so that a plea agreement or dismissal of the charges can be secured. The prosecutor may also bring pre-trial motions, and usually these are brought to weaken the defense or strengthen the prosecution’s case. At Hanlon Law, a skilled St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney can use all available tools to fight for you, including pre-trial motions.

When Can Pre-Trial Motions be Filed?

If you’ve been pardoned, the undisputed facts show you’re not guilty, you’ve been granted immunity, or you’ve already tried for an offense, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 190(c), allows you to file a motion at any point to seek a dismissal of criminal charges. However, there are also other pre-trial motions that can be made under Rule 3.190, and they must be properly timed before trial to achieve the desired effect.

Pre-Trial Motions

Pre-trial motions are usually made in writing. A crucial pre-trial motion for the defense is the motion to dismiss. Motions to dismiss allow you to raise arguments in connection with a former acquittal or the form of the charges. Generally, these motions are made during or before an arraignment, but it is possible to ask for more time to make the motion to dismiss. Sometimes you can plead and then file a motion to dismiss. Generally, if a motion to dismiss isn’t made within the appropriate time and is not made on fundamental grounds, the grounds will be considered waived.

In response to a motion to dismiss, the prosecuting attorney may file a traverse. The prosecutor is supposed to specifically deny within the traverse any factual matters that the prosecutor disputes, which are set forth in the motion to dismiss. If a motion to dismiss is sustained, the court can ask for you to be held in custody or admitted to bail for a certain period, pending the prosecution’s filing of a different indictment or information.

Sometimes it is appropriate to ask for a continuance of the proceedings in your case, or a postponement, through a motion. The court has the discretion to grant a continuance where the defense is able to establish good cause and can provide a good faith certificate.

Motion to Suppress

Another critical pre-trial motion is the motion to suppress evidence. Often these motions are brought in connection with a police officer’s illegal search and seizure around the time of your arrest. Under the Fourth Amendment, you are entitled to be free from illegal searches and seizures by the police. A search or seizure could be illegal because: there was no probable cause to believe the grounds on which a warrant was issued, there was no reasonable suspicion to detain you, a warrant was illegally issued, or the property seized by police was not properly identified within the warrant.

Often motions to suppress are also made in connection with confessions or admissions obtained in violation of a defendant’s Fifth Amendment rights. Under the Fifth Amendment you have a right not to incriminate yourself. Among other things, this includes the right to have Miranda warnings provided to you before being subject to a custodial interrogation. You may be able to bring a motion to suppress where you were not read your Miranda rights before being interrogated in custody. If you are successful at getting your confession or admissions suppressed, the prosecutor’s case may be significantly weakened and she may agree to a dismissal or a better plea agreement, depending on what other evidence is available or not available.

Consult a Dedicated Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Petersburg

If you’re facing criminal charges in St. Petersburg, your experienced criminal defense lawyer may use pre-trial motions as a strategy to influence plea negotiations or secure a dismissal of the charges. Our founder Will Hanlon has represented those accused of a wide range of crimes since 1994. Contact us at (813) 228-7095 or via our online form.

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As a practicing attorney, I was shocked to hear that a family member of mine was alleged to have committed a sex crime. Knowing full well the consequences this type of allegation can have on anyone and their future, I immediately reached out to William Hanlon for help. I had every confidence that Mr. Hanlon had the knowledge, expertise, and experience to handle this problem. Approximately 4 weeks from an initial conference with Mr. Hanlon, we received a call with the news that a letter of release was being issued and the case was being dropped. Now my family member can finally exhale, take a deep breath, and go on with his life. Thank you, William! Jerry
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I was facing a charge that if convicted would carry two years in prison minimally. Not only was he empathetic and listening to what I had to say but he arranged with the prosecutor for my charges not to be filed under terms of a pre trial investigation. Would highly recommend. Alec
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