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What Does Half-Time Motion Mean in A Criminal Defense Case?

One way to get a criminal charge dismissed is by filing a half-time motion in court. This motion is filed by the defendant to dismiss criminal charges filed by the prosecutors. While it may sound like a simple case, there are certain legal complexities involved in filing a half time motion.

Here we will take a close look at the half-time motion and when to file this motion in court.

Half-Time Motion: An Overview

A half-time motion is presented to the court by the defense counsel to appeal against the court’s decision to convict a person. It states that the court failed to look at all the facts when declaring a verdict.

An example of a half-time motion is the State of Washington, Respondent v. Dereck Nicholson, Appellant when the defense counsel filed the motion to dismiss the charges against the defendant on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to convict the defendant of the crime.

The motion is usually filed when the defense counsel believes that the evidence was not sufficient for a reasonable juror to make a definite decision about the case. It may be that the evidence provided in court only proved a certain element of the charges, and was therefore inadequate to convict the person of the crime.

The defense counsel makes the decision to file a half-time motion if the judge has given the benefit of the doubt to the plaintiff at the initial phase, and before the evidence is presented in the court.

When to File a Half-Time Motion

Filing a half-time motion is not the right move in certain situations. There are a number of cases in which filing this motion will have negative consequences on the outcome of the case. Two situations in which the petition is generally not filed in court include:

• The presentation of the case-in-chief by the plaintiff was weak, and
• The judge’s order was favorable for the defendant (or the least harsh, given the circumstances).

Lastly, the motion is usually not filed in court as there is a good chance that the appeal will be accepted in court. As you may have seen in the half-motion case example presented above, the judge rejected the request of the defendant in dropping the criminal charges. There is a long shot of prevailing with a half-time motion, which is why it is not more popular.

The only time when it is advisable to file a half-time motion is when the evidence is actually insufficient for the jurors to come to a specific conclusion. If the judge accepts the motion, the defendant will be free of all charges.

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