Motion in Arrest of Judgment
When a defendant has been convicted of a crime, said defendant can seek relief from his/her conviction by filing a motion in arrest of judgment. Basically, this motion suggests that the judgment has not been legally rendered. This motion is seldom used and rarely granted by the court. However, it is an option and should be discussed.
A motion in arrest of judgment is basically a post-trial motion to quash the defendant's indictment or information. It cannot be used to challenge the sufficiency of evidence at the trial.
It can only be used to challenge the legal sufficiency of the trial court's judgment. This motion may be granted if the defendant's indictment of information contained a substantial defect. For example, if the defendant's information was not signed by a state attorney
or a district attorney, the information is defective. If the indictment does not include all of the elements of the offense, it is defective. Said motion could also be used if the jury's verdict is defective as far as the allegations are concerned or if the verdict is invalid.
Motions in arrest of judgment are rarely used because the above defects are normally raised by motions to quash. A motion to quash would be more desirable simply because it raises the insufficiency of the indictment or information prior to trial. If the defects are not known until after, this is a good option. This is a good reason to always make sure you hire an experienced, knowledgeable criminal
attorney. The motion is limited to certain requirements. If the requirements are not adhered to, the prosecution can challenge the motion on appeal and claim that the defendant made a procedural defect in the motion.
The motion must be filed within a certain number of days after the sentence has been imposed by the court. The trial court has discretion as to whether or not it will hear the defendant's motion. If the court does grant a hearing, the defendant's presence will be required.
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