Motions & Petitions to Reduce Charges in Court
Court Motions: What Are They?
Among all the different actions that can be taken in court, perhaps the most important is filing a motion. While there are many different types of motions, the purpose of a motion is to request some kind of direct action to be taken on the part of the judge, the jury, plaintiff or defendant.
As someone who is involved in a court case, knowing what a motion is can help you in your strategy for winning a court case. But, this strategy should always be reviewed by your legal counsel, as most actions taken in court can have positive or negative repercussions for your case. Always consult your lawyer before considering filing a motion in court.
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Motions or Petitions to Reduce Charges in Court
A court motion is, in essence, a request for action taken by a specific party within the court case. The motion acts as a way to make some sort of decision by either the judge, the jury, the plaintiff, or the defendant in a case.
Sometimes, court motions are filed by a plaintiff or defendant themselves, and other times filed by their legal counsel. In some states, a court motion is filed by one party, then legal counsel will file a supporting motion to further make the case for why a motion should be granted.
In the end, the court motion is a tool to try and force a decision in court, or to move things along. As litigation can be complex and burdensome, sometimes a court motion is merely a statement of “We’ve heard enough, now let’s get on with it.”
Types of Court Motions
Several different types of court motions try to achieve different results and are directed toward different parties involved in the court case. Below are some examples of the types of motions that can be filed.
Motion to Dismiss
A motion to dismiss is one directed at the judge or judges presiding over a court case. This motion requests that the judge determine that the scope of the trial is outside legal limits, meaning there is no legal precedent for the case whatsoever.
If the issue being debated is outside the scope of what courts are designed to handle, a party might file a motion to dismiss. For a very simple example, a motion to dismiss might be filed if the issue is that you are trying to obtain damages for something in which no contract was ever created. As there is no legal precedent for one to make a claim for damages—let’s say 20 years ago your friend told you he would pay you $20, but there was never any legal documentation of this—one might file a motion to dismiss, saying the agreement was not legally binding.
Motion for a Direct Verdict
A motion for a direct verdict is made by the defendant party after the plaintiff has rested their case. This is a motion made when the defendant believes there is no need for them to present their evidence, essentially stating that the plaintiff’s case is invalid. If granted, the case is then dismissed.
Motion for a New Trial
A motion for a new trial is filed when one of the parties is not satisfied by the actions taken by the judge or jury. The case for this motion is most commonly made when one party believes the court acted improperly based on the evidence presented.
For instance, if there was a case between two parties about who should pay for damages in an auto accident, and the jury made a judgement based on evidence that has nothing to do with the issue—such as the color of the automobile that was damaged—one party might say the integrity of the trial was compromised because irrelevant evidence was used to find a ruling in the case.
Whether you’re involved in a court case currently or are preparing your case, the information found in this article is not a replacement for true legal advice. Always consult your lawyer before ever filing a motion. If you have more questions, give us a call at 203-597-6364 so we can get to work for you.
Timothy C. Moynahan is the CEO and owner of Moynahan Partners, which offers business development consultancy, identifying strategic business partnerships and funding sources. He founded and heads the Moynahan Law Firm, Waterbury, Connecticut, and is “of counsel” to the Jin Law Group at 200 Park Avenue in New York. He is a sought-after and successful trial lawyer, earning the Super Lawyer of New England and Connecticut awards from 2009 to 2012 and Best Criminal Defense Attorney accolade in 2013.