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Why pre-trial motions are important in criminal cases

In a number of our posts, we have highlighted different aspects of the process that criminal defendants in Colorado will go through. Indeed, a large majority of criminal cases will be resolved through plea deals. However, there are a number of instances where a trial may be necessary (especially if the defendant is charged with drug possession, a gun crime, a sexual assault, or any other crime).

In these situations, a pre-trial hearing may be held where the court may make decisions about critical pieces of evidence, and how they may be presented to a jury. This post will highlight some common issues that a court may decide.

Confessions to be excluded - If part of the prosecution's case includes a confession from the accused, the defense could ask that it be excluded because a Miranda warning may not have been given before the police began their questioning, or because the accused was forced to answer questions even after he exercised his right to remain silent.

Fourth Amendment violations - Counsel for the defense could also argue that certain evidence obtained as part of an illegal search be excluded. Evidence obtained in these situations are commonly seen as "fruit from a poisonous tree," and are inadmissible at trial.

Dismissal - Based on the court's ruling on the motions previously alluded to, the defense could ask the court to dismiss the case altogether. Essentially, without any (or sufficient) evidence to support the prosecution's case, the court may grant a dismissal.

If you have questions about pre-trial motions, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help.

The preceding is not legal advice.

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