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Motions Practice in Colorado Criminal Cases

Generally speaking, motions are a request to the court that a certain action be taken in a particular case. Motions in criminal cases can vary from requesting the court to dismiss criminal charges or, in some cases, the entire prosecution; to requesting that certain evidence be excluded from the jury because it is inadmissible under the Colorado Rules of Evidence; to requesting advance notice from the prosecution if they intend to introduce certain types of evidence. A more comprehensive list of motions in criminal cases includes:

• Motion to Suppress Statements

• Motion to Suppress

• Motion for Bill of Particulars detailing the chargers

• Motion to Exclude Law Enforcement Testimony (not witness to a crime)

• Motion for Expert Reports and Disclosure

• Motion for Notice of Intent to Produce Specific Instances of Prior Acts under Colorado Rule of Evidence 404(b)

• Motion to Introduce Specific Instances of Prior Acts under Colorado Rule of Evidence 404(b)

• Motion for Impeachment  Evidence of Prosecution Witnesses

• Motion for Production or Inspection of Evidence

• Motion to Reduce or Modify Bond

• Motion for Preliminary Hearing and Demand for Discovery Prior to Preliminary Hearing

• Motion for Change of Venue

• Motion for Change of Judge

• Motion for Mental Examination of Defendant

• Motion for Psychiatric Examination of Defendant (insanity plea)

• Motion for Psychiatric Examination of Prosecution Witness

• Motion to Produce Exculpatory and other Evidence

• Notice of Alibi

• Motion for Discovery and Examination of Physical Evidence/Identification Evidence

• Motion to Appoint Expert Witness at State Expense

• Motion to Suppress Evidence Seized without Warrant/Seized with Warrant

• Motion to Suppress Search Warrant

• Motion to Disclose Informant’s Name

• Motion to Suppress Statement or Confession

• Motion to Suppress Identification Evidence and In-court Identification

• Motion to Determine Electronic Surveillance

• Motion to Suppress Electronic Surveillance Results

• Motion to Suppress Prior Felony Conviction

• Motion to Compel State to Secure Appearance of Witnesses

• Motion to Exclude Evidence on Evidentiary Grounds (e.g., prior similar transaction evidence, use of prior convictions, or evidence that is more prejudicial than probative)

• Motion for Relief from Prejudicial Joinder/Motion for Severance of Counts/Motion for Severance of Defendant

• Motion to Dismiss (various types):

-Statute unconstitutional

-Barred by statute of limitations

-Lack of jurisdiction (statutory preemption, lack of subject matter jurisdiction, charging documents fails to state an offense)


-Defect in selection of grand jury

-Defect in charging document

-Loss or destruction of evidence

-Prosecutorial vindictiveness or outrageous conduct

-Violation of speedy disposition on detainer

-Double jeopardy/collateral estoppel/compulsory joinder statute

-Discovery violation/prosecutorial misconduct in charging

Contrary to motions in Denver and Colorado civil courts, which are typically written and decided upon without oral argument, motions in criminal cases are frequently decided upon in court, often times the day of the trial.

Further, in filing and arguing motions, some motions must be filed within a certain period of time in order to properly preserve the issue for the court and avoid waiving the right to assert it on behalf of the defense. In particular, under Colorado Rule of Evidence 12(b) motions asserting a defect in the complaint or indictment, other than it fails to show jurisdiction in the court, shall be made within 21 days after arraignment. Other motions can be filed outside of the 21 day period; however, many courts will set a motions deadline date by which all motions be filed.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended to be general information only and not legal advice. Laws change frequently and the information on this website may not be up to date, nor is the information intended to be fully comprehensive. For legal advice specific to your case please contact J.D. Porter, LLC or another licensed attorney.