Criminal defense attorneys and paralegals need pleading packages to help efficiently prepare pleadings to defend their clients. Criminal defendants who review pleading packages may better understand the criminal justice court system and may better help assist in their own defense.
The pleadings in the packages on this page have been prepared and used by some of the best criminal defense attorneys, including Roger Lampkin, George Boyle, Douglas Moffat, and J. Anthony Bryan. We have removed personal identifying information from the pleadings, made the pleadings as generic as possible, and formatted the pleadings for consistency. Most of the pleadings in these packages are found in one or more of the books we have helped write. The books can be found in bookstores or by clicking here. These pleadings are sold to the public, but they are primarily designed for attorneys and paralegals. If you are a criminal defendant, you should seek the advice of an attorney before using any of these pleadings.
These pleadings are for use without trial. If you are looking for trial motions (Motions in Limine), click here.
General instructions for pleading packages can be found by clicking here. Keep scrolling or jump to a specific package by clicking one of the jump links:
Discovery motions are used to obtain evidence and information from the prosecution in California criminal cases. This package includes the following Word documents:
- Informal Request for Discovery – This pleading is used to ask the prosecution to voluntarily provide discovery before formally asking the court to order the prosecution to produce discovery.
- Motion for Bill of Particulars – This motion asks the prosecution to disclose specifically what the defendant is alleged to have done. Most of the time, the charging document informs the defendant of the allegations, but sometimes the charging document is too ambiguous.
- Motion to Discover Child Exploitation Evidence – The prosecution may refuse to give the defense electronic evidence in child exploitation cases. This motion asks the court to order disclosure and includes remedies to protect public disclosure.
- Motion for Hearing in Anticipation of Demurrer (Zamora Motion) – This motion is used to get information that may lead to a dismissal, such as evidence that the statute of limitations has run or evidence that an alleged child victim is actually an adult.
- Discovery Motion – This is a catch-all motion asking for a wide range of evidence.
- Motion for Independent Examination of Evidence – This motion can be used have a defense expert examine fingerprint evidence, DNA evidence, blood tests, or any other physical evidence to determine if the prosecution experts made mistakes or misinterpreted evidence.
- Motion to Discover Informant Reliability Records – If the police claim that they based their search on a “Reliable Informant” this motion can be used to get evidence about the informant’s actual reliability.
- Motion to Discover Informant – This motion is used to learn the identity of a police informant.
- Motion for Lineup – At trial, the defendant is easy to identify – he’s the one sitting next to the attorney. This motion is used to conduct a fair lineup before trial.
- Motion to Discover Mental Health Records – A defendant has a limited right to obtain a victim’s mental health records if those records are relevant to the charges or the credibility of the victim. This motion can be used to help obtain the records.
- Motion to Discover Officer Personnel Records (Pitchess Motion) – An officer’s personnel records may contain complaints of misconduct or dishonesty. This motion can be used to request access to personnel records.
- Motion for Discovery to Assist at Preliminary Hearing – This motion requests early access to evidence that may help resolve the case at or before the preliminary hearing.
- Motion to Discover Prosecution Agreements – A defendant has the right to know if a witness is receiving compensation or consideration for their testimony. This motion can help a defendant get access to such agreements.
- Motion to Discover Sealed Affidavit (Hobbs Motion) – If a search warrant is based on a sealed affidavit, this motion can be used to request access to the sealed part of the search warrant request.
- Motion to Discover Evidence of Selective Prosecution – If a defendant is selected for prosecution based on race, sexual preference, national origin, or other improper basis, this motion can be used to request evidence of discrimination.
- Motion to Discover Witness Criminal Records – Often, the prosecution will disclose that a witness has a criminal record but won’t disclose reports or evidence related to the criminal record. This motion can be used to request those reports along with witness names and contact information.
- More – We add pleadings to the package web pages, but we don’t update this list very often, so you’ll probably receive more pleadings that are on this list.
Buy now for only $30 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Discovery Package.
Dismissal motions are used to ask the court to dismiss criminal charges or enhancements. This package includes the following Word documents:
- Dismiss for Selective Prosecution – This pleading, also known as a Murgia motion, is used to ask the court to dismiss a prosecution that is based on race, sexual orientation, or some other improper criteria.
- Dismiss for Invasion of Defense Camp – The prosecution is not allowed to interfere with the defense team’s attorney-client relationship. This pleading is used to ask the court to dismiss a prosecution based on the prosecution’s interception of defense communications or otherwise interfering with the defense.
- Dismiss Under General Statute – The prosecution cannot seek harsher punishment by charging a defendant under a general statute instead of a specific statute. For example, prosecution for theft is barred by a special statute prohibiting use of false statement to obtain welfare, because any conduct which violated the welfare fraud statute would also constitute a violation of the theft provision of the Penal Code.
- Dismiss for Delay in Prosecution – This pleading asks the court to dismiss charges because the defense has been harmed by delay caused by the prosecution team.
- Demurrer (Lack of Jurisdiction) – This pleading can be used to ask the court to dismiss the charging document because it does not establish that the court has jurisdiction.
- Demurrer (Misjoinder) – This pleading can be used to ask the court to dismiss the charging document because it improperly joins counts. If granted, the prosecution will generally refile the matter as separate cases, but the refiled charges by be barred by the statute of limitations or other rules.
- Demurrer (Inadequate Notice) – The prosecution must give a defendant adequate notice of the charges against him. This pleading can be used to ask the court to dismiss because notice is inadequate.
- Demurrer (Prosecution Admission) – This pleading can be used to ask the court to dismiss because the prosecution has made an admission that the charges are barred. For example, the prosecution charges a defendant with cannabis sales in violation of Health & Safety Code §11359 and of violating a licensed medical marijuana dispensary in an area not zoned for a dispensary. By charging both violations, the prosecution has admitted that the sales were licensed and, therefore, not in violation of Health & Safety Code §11359.
- Dismiss for Denial of Speedy Preliminary Hearing – A defendant who is in custody is generally entitled to a preliminary hearing within ten court days. (Penal Code §859b). This motion can be used to ask the court to dismiss if a defendant’s right to a speedy preliminary hearing is violated.
- Dismiss (Forum Shopping) – The prosecution should not be allowed to dismiss a case just because they don’t like the judge only to refile before a more favorable judge. If they do, this motion can be used to ask for a permanent dismissal.
- Dismiss (Improper Destruction of Drugs) – Specific rules apply when law enforcement officers seek to destroy alleged drugs that were seized as part of the prosecution. This motion can be used to request a dismissal if law enforcement does not follow the rules. More general motions to dismiss for destruction of evidence (also known as a Trombetta Motions) are often brought as motions in limine. Learn more about motions in limine on this page. A general Trombetta motion is also included in the Sanctions Package.
- Dismiss for Insufficient Evidence (Penal Code §995) – If the prosecution does not present sufficient evidence of guilt at the preliminary hearing, this motion can be used to ask the court to dismiss charges.
- Dismiss (Interrupted Preliminary Hearing) – Once a preliminary hearing begins, the judge should not be interrupted with other court business. If there are interruptions, this motion could be used to ask for a dismissal.
- Dismiss (Lack of Funds) – An indigent defendant has the right to not only appointed counsel but also appointed experts and investigators. If the court does not provide adequate funding, this motion can be used to ask for a dismissal.
- Dismiss for Speedy Trial Violation – Defendants have the right to a speedy trial. If that right is violated, this motion can be used to ask the court to dismiss.
Buy now for only $40 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Dismissal Package.
Sanctions motions are used to ask the court to punish the prosecution for improper activity, such as an illegal search or the improper destruction of evidence. In a criminal prosecution, the prosecutor has a duty to treat the criminal defendant fairly. These criminal defense motions can help when a criminal defendant is not treated fairly. This package includes the following Word documents:
- Lost Evidence – If the prosecution loses evidence, the defense may be entitled to a dismissal or other sanction, such as prohibiting the prosecution from introducing other evidence or instructing the jury to presume that the destroyed evidence was favorable to the defense. This motion, commonly known as a Trombetta motion, can be used to request sanctions. A dismissal motion related to the improper destruction of drugs can be found in the Dismissal Package. Motions related to the destruction of evidence are often brought as motions in limine. Learn more about motions in limine on this page.
- Lost Witnesses – If the prosecution causes a favorable witness to be unavailable to the defense, the court might issue sanctions, such as allowing the defense to introduce written statements from the witness, allowing an investigator to testify as to what the witness told him, or instructing the jury that they should presume that the witness’s testimony would be favorable to the defense.
- Suppress (Defective Warrant) – This motion alleges that the officer who prepared a search warrant intentionally misled the judge who issued the warrant. The motion requests that the defense be allowed to examine the officer and that the court then exclude any evidence obtained using the warrant.
- Suppress (Forced Blood Draw) – This motion can be used to request exclusion of blood taken from the defendant if it was taken by force and without a warrant.
- Suppress (No Warrant) – This motion asks the court to suppress evidence because the evidence was seized without a valid warrant exception. Some attorneys use a motion such as this as a sort of lottery ticket by bringing the motion and hoping that the arresting officer does not show up to the hearing, does not remember the facts of the case, or cannot articulate a warrant exception.
- Suppress (Officer Presence) – A warrantless arrest by a peace officer for a misdemeanor is lawful only if the officer has reasonable cause to believe the misdemeanor was committed in the officer’s presence. Therefore, if the officer does not witness some required element of the charged offense, the arrest may be deemed invalid and the evidence suppressed. This motion argues that an officer must witness the volitional movement of a defendant’s vehicle before performing an arrest, but the motion can be adapted to other misdemeanors, such as arguing that a sleeping defendant cannot be arrested for public intoxication or that a shoplifter cannot be arrested by an officer based on the report of a security guard.
Buy now for only $15 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Sanctions Package.
Procedural motions are used to ask the court for routine matters that generally do not go to the merits of the case, such as to continue trial, to substitute attorneys, or to recall a warrant. A criminal defense attorney or criminal defendant may bring may such motions before the matter proceeds to a bench trial or a jury trial. This package includes the following Word documents:
- Continue Readiness and Trial – Use this pleading to request more time to prepare for trial.
- Demand on Unsentenced Case – Use this pleading to request that the defendant be sentenced on other outstanding cases to get the benefit of concurrent sentencing.
- Joinder – Join in a motion filed by another attorney. This pleading basically says, “me too.” Instead of copying a motion that has already been filed by a codefendant, this pleading can be used to join in the motion.
- Not Competent to Stand Trial – If a defendant is unable to understand the proceedings and assist in his own defense, the court can suspend proceedings and appoint a mental health professional to examine the defendant. Use this motion to make the request.
- Probable Cause Hearing – Use this pleading to request that a defendant held on a misdemeanor charge be released from custody without bail or that the court determine whether there is probable cause to hold the defendant.
- Recall Warrant – Use this pleading to request that the court recall and arrest warrant and set further proceedings.
- Reconsideration – If you believe the court made an error in an earlier ruling, use this pleading to ask the court to reconsider based on additional evidence and law.
- Reduce Bail – A defendant has the right to reasonable bail. Use this pleading to request a bail reduction.
- Release Extradition – After an identity hearing related to a pending extradition, the court must grant the defendant bail or hold the defendant for not more than thirty days. Upon proper findings, this time can be extended up to ninety days. If the state seeking extradition does not take the defendant within the time limitations, this motion can be used to ask the court to release the defendant. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. A defendant will be picked up and held in local custody pending extradition, but the state seeking extradition won’t want to pay the cost of transportation, so the defendant will simply be left in jail.
- Release Subpoenaed Documents – When documents are subpoenaed from a third party, they are delivered to the court. This motion can be used to release the documents for use by the defense.
- Relieved as Attorney of Record – An attorney can use this pleading to request appointment of a new attorney.
- Return Property – Property that has been seized but is not contraband should be returned once the property is no longer needed as evidence. Return of property can be prior to trial for items that do not have intrinsic evidentiary value, such as U.S. currency, or can be at the conclusion of trial for items needed as evidence in trial.
- Set Motions Date – Most courts do not have a specific “Motions Date,” but if you practice in a court that does use the Motions Date system, this motion can be used to request that a Motions Date be set.
- Substitute Counsel by Consent – Use this pleading to become the attorney of record without a hearing.
- Substitute Counsel by Motion – Use this pleading to become the attorney of record when prior counsel may oppose being relieved, when you wish to meet with prior counsel to resolve issues surrounding substitution (such as the transfer of discovery), or when the court might be against substitution. The court might be against substitution if made on the eve of trial, unless new counsel is ready to proceed without a continuance.
- Waive Conflict – Use this pleading to request permission to represent conflicting parties. For example, in a shoplifting case where multiple defendants are charged but each claims that no property was taken, one attorney may be allowed to represent all defendants. However, if each defendant blames the other for the theft, an un-waivable conflict will arise, and the attorney won’t be allowed to represent any defendant.
- Waiver of Personal Appearance – Use this pleading to request that the attorney be allowed to appear in court without the defendant being present. It is generally normal for attorneys to handle most aspects of misdemeanor cases without the defendant present, but defendants are usually required to be present at all hearings in felony cases. However, special situations may warrant the waiver of appearance by a felony defendant, such as for an elderly defendant, during Covid social distancing, for a defendant in custody in another jurisdiction, or for a defendant suffering illness.
- Withdraw from Case – Use this pleading to request more time to prepare for trial.
Buy now for only $25 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Procedural Package.
Third party pleadings are used to order a person or entity that is not a member of the prosecution team to take some action that is of benefit to the defense team. We have created a Bar approved MCLE course about finding and funding expert witnesses. The MCLE is free, and it includes some free criminal defense motions related to the appointment of defense experts. The MCLE and related pleadings and handouts can be accessed by clicking here. Motions from the MCLE along with other third party criminal defense motions are in this package. This Third Party Package includes the following Word and/or PDF documents:
- Confidential Communications – Use this pleading to request the court to order the jail or prison to allow the defendant free, unmonitored phone calls with his defense team.
- Outside Medical – This pleading can be used to request that the court order a jail or prison to transport a defendant to a medical facility to receive treatment using his own insurance or his own funds.
- Pubic Records Act Request – With few restrictions, government agencies must disclose agency records to any member of the public. This pleading can be used to request records from state and local agencies. Such records may be beneficial to find evidence of selective prosecution, to find discriminatory procedures, to find errors in laboratory procedures, or to find other evidence of benefit to the defense.
- Quash Protective Order (Defendant) – In a domestic violence case, a protective order is often issued in favor of the alleged victim even if the victim does not want the protective order. Use this pleading to request the court to order the quash the protective order.
- Quash Protective Order (Alleged Victim) – In a domestic violence case, a protective order is often issued in favor of the alleged victim even if the victim does not want the protective order. An alleged victim can use this pleading to request the court to order the quash the protective order.
- Conditional Examination – A civil litigant generally can depose and question any material witness, but a criminal defendant does not enjoy the same rights as a civil litigant. However, if a witness is so old or so ill that there is a danger of losing the witness before trial, this pleading can be used to request an opportunity to question the witness on the record for use at trial.
- Subpoena Duces Tecum – Use this to demand that a third party produce evidence and/or appear in court to testify. This form (CR-125.pdf) is widely available online for free. It is only included in this package so attorneys, paralegals, and pro per litigants can more easily keep third party pleadings together.
Buy now for only $20 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Third Party Package.
Funding motions are used to ask the court to pay some or all of the costs of the defense. Some of these motions are available for free on our sister web page ExpertAppointments.com. ExpertAppointments.com also has a free MCLE course explaining how to find and fund experts. This Funds Package includes the following Word and/or PDF documents:
- Appoint Counsel of Choice – If an attorney begins a case but then the defendant or the defendant’s family runs out of funds to pay the attorney, the defendant can request that the court pay the cost of the attorney. This pleading can be used to make that request. This is an ex parte request, so it should not be served on the prosecution.
- Appoint Gang Expert (Appointed Counsel) – This is a sample expert appointment request to be used by an appointed attorney or by a pro per defendant who has been declared to be indigent. This is an ex parte request, so it should not be served on the prosecution.
- Appoint Interpreter (Appointed Counsel) – This is a sample expert appointment request to be used by an appointed attorney or by a pro per defendant who has been declared to be indigent. This is an ex parte request, so it should not be served on the prosecution.
- Appoint Investigator (Retained Counsel) – This is a sample expert appointment request to be used by an attorney who has been retained to represent a defendant. This is an ex parte request, so it should not be served on the prosecution.
- Appoint Paralegal (Appointed Counsel) – This is a sample expert appointment request to be used by an appointed attorney or by a pro per defendant who has been declared to be indigent. This pleading includes argument and authority to show that paralegals are an important part of the defense team. This is an ex parte request, so it should not be served on the prosecution.
- Appoint Technology Expert (Appointed Counsel) – This is a sample expert appointment request to be used by an appointed attorney or by a pro per defendant who has been declared to be indigent. This is an ex parte request, so it should not be served on the prosecution.
- Transcript of Prior Proceedings – A criminal defendant is entitled to transcripts of any needed prior proceedings, such as the transcript of a defendant’s trial that ended with a hung jury or the transcript of a codefendant’s trial. This pleading can be used to request those transcripts. This is an ex parte request, so it should not be served on the prosecution.
- Request to Waive Court Fees – This judicial council form (FW-001) is used by some attorneys as an attachment to fund requests as proof that a defendant is indigent. The form is not designed for use in criminal proceedings and it is widely available for free online; however, because it is used by so many attorneys, it is included in this package for sake of convenience.
Buy now for only $10 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Funds Package.
Plea related pleadings are in this package. This package includes the following Word documents:
- Withdraw Plea – Sometimes a defendant will change his mind about the plea he accepted. This motion can be used to ask the court to allow the defendant to withdraw his plea.
- Enforce Agreement – Sometimes the prosecution will change their mind about the plea they accepted. A common way this to happen is for the prosecution agree to a plea that resolves “all pending matters” and then notice that the defendant has matters pending that the assigned prosecutor was not personally aware of or that the defendant had tickets in traffic court. This motion can be used to ask the court to enforce a plea agreement.
- Pre-Plea Probation Report – The court can order preparation of a probation repot to assist in negotiations. This is often helpful when there are questions about the amount of custody credit a defendant has earned or whether the defendant has prior strike convictions or prison priors. This pleading can be used to ask the court to order a probation report before a plea is entered.
- Request to Indicate Sentence – A defendant need not negotiate a plea with the prosecution. Rather, a defendant can bypass the prosecution and negotiate directly with the court by requesting an indicated sentence. This pleading requests such an indication from the court.
- Misdemeanor Diversion – Pursuant to Penal Code §1001.95, which went into effect January 1, 2021, “A judge in the superior court in which a misdemeanor is being prosecuted may, at the judge’s discretion, and over the objection of a prosecuting attorney, offer diversion to a defendant…” This pleading can be used to request diversion.
Buy now for only $10 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Plea Package.
Post conviction motions are used to obtain a more favorable sentence. Other types of post conviction pleadings, that are NOT part of this package, may be used to challenge the validity of a conviction or expunge a case after a sentence is complete. We offer some of these pleadings free of charge on our sister webpage, ProPerKits.com and other post conviction pleadings can be found in our books. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, in our books, or on our sister web pages, feel free to text or call us at 661Justice (661-587-8423). This post conviction package includes the following Word documents:
- Modify Probation – This pleading can be used to request modification or termination of probation.
- Reduce to Misdemeanor – Some charges can be either felonies or misdemeanors. Charges than can be either are known as wobblers. This pleading can be used to request that a felony wobbler be reduced to a misdemeanor.
- Statement in Mitigation – This pleading can be used to inform the court about good deeds done by defendant, the defendant’s need to remain out of custody to care for a loved-one, or other reasons the court should give the defendant a lenient sentence.
- Strike Prior DUI – If a defendant’s sentence is being enhanced based on a prior DUI plea, this pleading can be used to argue that the prior DUI plea was not valid because it was not entered into voluntarily and knowingly. This pleading is often of benefit in second time DUI cases because defendants often enter a first time DUI plea without benefit of counsel and without even seeing the evidence being offered against them.
- Strike Prior – This pleading can be used to request that a prior “strike” because it is invalid as not being knowing and voluntary.
- Strike Prior (Romero) – This pleading can be used to request that the court strike a prior “strike” conviction that is valid but would result in an unfair sentence because the “strike” prior is old or otherwise not in the spirit of the three strikes law.
Buy now for only $20 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in the Post Conviction Package.
If purchased individually, the packages total $170. You can save 50% by purchasing the All Package Bundle for only $85. Click the button below to pay and receive instant access to a bundle of all packages. This New Year offer will last through January 31, 2021. After that date, the 50% off button will be deleted,, and the All Package Bundle will return to the discounted price of $119, a 30% discount off of the purchase price of the individual packages.
Temporary Price Reduction Button: Buy now for only $85 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in all packages described above.
No rush – the button will be here until February 1, 2021.
Buy now for only $119 including tax and you will receive instant access to the web page where you can download all of the pleadings in all packages described above.
Most of the pleadings in these packages come from books we have helped with, so we are sharing some of the praise and endorsements we have received for those books and the pleadings in them.
“Actually, this is as good as I’ve seen it regarding federalizing objections… you put a lot of effort into this… and you are trying to be specific, so I think that’s good.” Judicial comments at trial of People v. Xavier Harris, BF155952A.
“The pleadings in this book are good to use as examples to help you understand the system…” Attorney J. Anthony Bryan
“Great motions in limine, such as those you’ll find in this book, can help level the playing field and get your client a fair trial.” Attorney George A. Boyle
“I’ve spent decades defending the accused. During that time I have poured countless hours into developing the most effective motions. I hope you can benefit from my efforts.” Trial Attorney Roger Lampkin (661)633-1234
“All of my clients should have a copy of this book. It has a great overview of the criminal process with examples from some of the best attorneys.” Bob Melendez, Gotta Go Bail Bonds (661)633-2245
“As a seasoned, no nonsense criminal defense trial lawyer with more than twenty years experience in the courtroom, I know good motions when I see them, and this book is filled with great motions.” Attorney Joe Whittington (661)322-5822
“I see contributions in this book from some of the top criminal defense attorneys and I am honored to have my motions featured here.” Attorney Bill Slocumb (661)324-1400
“If you are accused, you need this book.” Champaign Butler, Buzzy’s Bail Bonds (661)324-8119