Motion for Continuance
Why to Request a Continuance
The vast majority of continuances are due to time constraints. You can only be at one place at one time and there are only 24 hours in a day. Sometimes you just can’t get it all done. There are a lot of very good reasons to file a motion for a continuance. Your client could need additional time to complete a task. A witness might have cancelled a crucial deposition. You or a witness might have an emergency issue requiring out of town travel. I’ve even seen an attorney request a continuance, on the day of trial, because that attorney had just been arrested and had charges pending in front of that judge. He absolutely needed a continuance to have the case reassigned to a different division. We all understand that sometimes things happen in life that are outside of your control.
Don’t be a Lazy Lawyer
Nothing is more frustrating to a judge than to have a 2012 case on his or her docket in 2016. The judge’s frustration will grow exponentially if the attorney on the case sends in a coverage attorney to request a continuance because the attorney was out of town on business in Las Vegas. The bottom line is that you need to stay on top of your cases. It is stressful being a criminal defendant. Frivolously delaying the resolution to your client’s case is unethical and can take a real toll on your client’s wellbeing.
How to Request a Continuance
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(g) governs motions for a continuance. All motions for a continuance must be made prior to the matter being set for trial or for good cause shown after the case has been set for trial. Try to notify the judge as far in advance as you can. In Florida, each judge handles a motion for a continuance differently. As a general rule of thumb, always put the motion in writing and always try to get the state to agree to the continuance.
Motion for a Continuance | Technical Requirements & Suggestions
- Must have certificate of good faith;
- Must state good cause or facts unknown at time if the trial date has already been set;
- Do not throw the other attorney under a bus or “cheap shot” opposing counsel because he/she does not agree to the continuance;
- A procedural history is technically not necessary, but it is a really good idea. Be sure to mention prior continuances and why those were granted;
- Check with the judicial assistant to see if the judge requires a hearing and if there are any other division specific requirements.
The following are two samples of a Motion for a Continuance pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(g).
Agreed Motion for a Continuance
Download ( Agreed-Motion-for-Continuance-Criminal.pdf, PDF, 119KB)
Motion for a Continuance | Not Agreed or Not Known
Download ( Motion-for-Continuance-Criminal.pdf, PDF, 121KB)
Omnibus Motion to Suppress
This is simply a checkbox motion to suppress which attorneys were using in District Court DUI cases in North Carolina. A defendant doesn’t have a right to discovery in District Court cases. However, the legislature passed a law mandating that all motions to suppress be filed pretrial. As a result, it was not uncommon to end up trying a case that had substantial problems that would have been the basis for a motion to suppress. However, all of your grounds for a motion to suppress were waived due to your failure to file a pretrial motion. I don’t know who came up with the idea, but this form started circulating wherein you simply checked every box that might apply to the case. When you filed the motion, you would get a hearing on your motion and you could use that as a means to flush out the facts. North Carolina has a right of appeal for a jury trial de novo if an individual is convicted in District Court.
Use in Other Jurisdictions:
This type of motion would not be acceptable in Florida under normal circumstances. I can think of certain scenarios when there might be an exception. However, Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(g)(2) requires that a motion to suppress contain a legally sufficient factual basis for filing the motion to suppress. If the motion is not legally sufficient on its face, the judge should deny the motion without a hearing pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190(g)(3). Accordingly, the use of this motion or a “check box” type of motion is going to depend on the rules of procedure in the jurisdiction where you practice. However, you would need to tailor the motion to the specific case law in your own jurisdiction. For example, items 3, 4 & 5 in the motion reference case law from North Carolina. If I were filing the motion in Florida, I could change “Knoll” in item 3 to “Halliburton” and move to suppress based on a due process argument.
I wouldn’t expect much in the way of good results from this type of motion. If you can write a more specific motion, it would probably be in your best interest to do so. However, filing a “& the kitchen sink” motion might be good for the record if the State is playing games with you regarding discovery and attempting to get you to waive your speedy trial in order to get discovery.
This motion is in Word format so it can be downloaded and modified to suit your individual needs.
Download ( Omnibus-Motion-to-Suppress.docx, DOCX, 16KB)