In most criminal defense cases, involved parties are given a chance to make pre-trial motions. These arguments serve a number of purposes, and they let prosecutors, defendants and legal teams define what can be addressed in the formal trials to follow.
Defendants and prosecutors may enter such motions to prevent specific evidence from being heard during trial or stop specific individuals from giving their testimony. In some instances, pre-trial hearings can be used to argue against a case being continued at all.
Pre-trial hearings play important roles in protecting the civil rights of accused individuals. In cases where police or other law enforcement officials procured evidence illegally, defense teams may argue that prosecutors should be barred from presenting such materials during the trial. Similar arguments are sometimes used to call into question the suitability or competency of witnesses who might fail to provide accurate testimony. When police neglect to follow necessary procedures, such as establishing probable cause or reading individuals their Miranda rights before detaining them, pre-trial arguments can be employed to demonstrate that the government doesn't have enough valid evidence to convict a defendant or even formally try them.
In order to fight criminal charges successfully, defense teams begin their work well before the actual trial date. Because those accused of felonies often face serious penalties, they usually find it prudent to research their circumstances and investigate alternate avenues of effective defense. While courts allow defendants to make pre-trial motions, these tools aren't always successful, and it is important to prepare ahead of time and come up with a well-presented argument that stands up to close judicial scrutiny.