Criminal Law and Procedures Motions Law & Legal Definition


A request asking a judge to issue a ruling or order on a legal matter. Usually, one side files a motion, along with notice of the motion to the attorney for the opposing party, the other side files a written response, and the court holds a hearing, at which the parties give brief oral arguments.  Other motions are decided by the written submissions alone, without a hearing. However, during a trial or a hearing, an oral motion may be permitted. Then the court issues a ruling which approves or denies the motion. Motions are often made before trials to resolve procedural and preliminary issues, and may be made after trials to enforce or modify judgments. Motions are made in court all the time for many purposes such as to continue a trial to a later date, to get a modification of an order, for temporary child support, for a judgment, for dismissal of the opposing party's case, for a rehearing, for sanctions, and many other reasons. A motion on a factual matter usually will be filed with a supporting affidavit.