What Is a Motion Hearing in a Criminal Case?

A motion hearing is the proceeding that a judge schedules for parties in a case, which could be a felony, misdemeanor, or other type of case, to orally argue their positions. The judge calls this proceeding in the event no ruling has been issued beforehand in response to a motion, and it affords the judge the opportunity to directly ask the parties any necessary questions. A motion is the formal request asking the judge to decide or act on a matter.

A movant is the name of the applicant, also called the moving party, who is asking the judge to issue a decision, which is formally called an order. When movants initially file their motions, they also let the opposing party know by sending a notice of the motion to the opposing party’s attorney. This gives the opposing party the chance to respond by submitting a written notice of opposition to the motion along with any material facts.

There is no jury present at the motion hearing, since it is not a jury trial proceeding. However, like a jury trial, all the legal proceedings, including all the findings in the case, are captured by a court reporter or a recording device.