If you are facing criminal charges, especially for a serious felony, you could be very worried about what would happen to you if you were convicted. You could also be thinking, “If I’m found guilty, do I have other legal recourse? Can something still be done?” When people are convicted in the criminal justice system, it doesn’t mean the case has to stay closed, that the defendant has no other options. In fact, when people are convicted, there are different motions that can be filed after their trial is over. Before we explain the various post-trial motions, first we’re going to discuss “motions,” what they are and how they work in criminal cases.
Motions in the Criminal Justice System
When people become involved in criminal cases, sometimes they want to ask the court to do something outside of the normal court process. For example, a criminal defense attorney may ask the court to drop a case due to insufficient evidence against a client (motion to dismiss). Motions are written requests made directly to the court asking for a specific order or ruling. They are used frequently in the legal system and certain types of motions are unique to criminal cases. When it comes to criminal trials, motions are key tools, which are used strategically by defense lawyers. Now that we understand what motions are, read on to learn more about post-trial motions.
Suppose a defendant is convicted. In that case, the commonly-used post-trial motions include the following:
- A Motion for a New Trial– With these, the court vacates (cancels) a judgement and allows a new trial. While these are rare, they can be done if it makes sense.
- A Motion to Correct a Sentence, Set Aside, or Vacate– With this motion, a clerical error in a sentence is corrected.
- A Motion for Acquittal or Judgement– With this motion, the court sets the jury’s verdict aside and lets the defendant walk free.
Do you have further questions about post-trial motions? To get the answers you need, contact our firm to meet with a Plano criminal defense lawyer.