All defendants in a court case are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. In your case, there may be certain facts that could unfairly prejudice you in front of a jury if they were to be revealed at trial. For this reason, the law and its procedures has given you a way to keep them from being divulged to a New York City jury. This is a legal vehicle known as a motion in limine.
What is a motion in limine?
The legal term “motion in limine” refers to a type of motion filed in court to prevent evidence from being seen or heard by the jury that would have an immediate prejudicial effect on you that would be reflected in their verdict. This type of motion is filed just before the trial actually begins or during the trial.
A judge may not always rule in favor of a motion in limine. They may prefer to wait to make a decision until some of the evidence has been released and examined. However, if they are aware in advance that some of this evidence is bound to be prejudicial, they will usually grant this motion with no further comment.
It is important to make motions in limine as soon as possible. Once prejudicial evidence is before a jury, the proverbial bell can’t be unrung. Judges lie to offer curative instructions to help cure the prejudice, but such instructions rarely fix the problem. However, if they are aware in advance that some of this evidence is bound to be prejudicial, they will usually grant this motion with no further comment. If a motion in limine is supported by applicable cutting-edge law and creative legal analysis, as all motions should, you likely will prevail. Most judges want to get it right. No judges like to get reversed.
Who can file a motion in limine?
A motion in limine can be filed on your behalf by the lawyer who represents you in your case. This is a motion that prosecutors hate to see, as each successful motion in limine has the potential to blow holes in their case while strengthening your defense.
A savvy criminal defense lawyer, armed with the strongest and most recent legal precedent and thoughtful legal arguments will convince the prosecutor to agree even before the motion is filed. This strategy removes the risk of a bad judicial decision and gets the job done quick.
If you believe that this motion in limine can help you win your case, it may be wise to talk to your legal counsel about it. Your attorney may not be as focused on it as you are, and the best results follow when a defendant and their lawyer work together as a team.