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What Is a Motion in Limine?

In the United States, a motion in limine is Latin for a “motion at the start.” Essentially, this is a request that is sent to a judge and can be used in either civil or criminal proceedings. Motion in limines are used on both the state and federal levels in all types of cases. Sometimes, at a pre-trial hearing, an attorney will request that the judge rule that a certain testimony be included or excluded in the case. For example, if you are involved in a DUI accident and discover that there is a witness who is inflating the details of the case, then your attorney may create a motion in limine that requests that that witnesses’ testimony be thrown out before the case proceeds. Attorneys can also invoke a motion in limine in the midst of a case if they hear a testimony that is inaccurate or exaggerated. As well, an attorney can request that a witness’ testimony be heard.

A motion in limine is never discussed with the jury present, and is always decided by the judge on the case. The reasons for the motions are wide, but most often they are used in a criminal trial to shield the jury from information concerning the defendant that could be unfairly prejudicial to him. In other cases, an attorney may ask for a motion in limine because the evidence doesn’t follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or does not abide by the rules of discovery. Motion in limine actions can concern the inclusion of evidence or the exclusion of it. If you are currently involved in a criminal trial, and are aware that a specific witness is going to give a dishonest, malicious, or false testimony, then you can discuss this with your attorney in order to get a motion in limine hearing. Motion in limine hearings are especially helpful in DUI cases where one passenger or driver of another vehicle may testify falsely against another person out of spite. All motion in limine procedures are governed under the Federal Rules of Evidence, which can be viewed here. If you want more information about how a motion in limine can help your case, then contact a Sacramento DUI lawyer today!

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