Motion in Limine

What is a Motion in Limine?

  • Excludes evidence: A motion in limine is a written or oral argument that is made before trial that asks the judge to exclude specific evidence.
  • For Example: A lawyer would use a motion in limine to limit the scope of a state witness, or to prevent testimony regarding the contents of a video, or to prevent the State from discussing a particular issue at some point during the case.
  • Useful Tool: A motion in limine can be a powerful tool if used well. It can prevent damaging evidence from ever being introduced at a trial, and limit the state’s case against you.
  • Standards: In order to get a motion in limine granted the arguing lawyer must make a sufficient legal argument that the evidence should be excluded for a specific reason. For example, an argument could be that the evidence isn’t relevant, or that the evidence is only a little bit relative but the damaging impact is too great to justify its admission, or that the evidence is only a limited portion of a much larger picture so it gives an unfair depiction about what occurred, or that the data is not properly authenticated. Etc. There are many reasons and standards for a motion in limine. A lawyer will sit down with you and help discuss your case by showing you what can be excluded in any particular case.

Written vs. Oral:

  • Written Motion in Limine tends to be used further in advance of trial as a way to prepare for a trial, by knowing exactly what evidence will come in and what evidence will be left out. Oral motions in limine are more traditionally made on the fly before trial. They are less well received by the judge but often have a more impactful effect on the case because of the surprise element. Each motion type of motion in limine is helpful in its own way and should be discussed with your lawyer.

Types of evidence a that can be excluded?

    • Pretty much anything and everything is fair game in a motion in limine, so long as there is an insufficient legal reason for using a motion in limine.
    • For example, you can exclude testimony, you can exclude tangible evidence, photos, hearsay, pretty much anything so long as there is a legal basis.
    • For a more detailed breakdown of what a motion in limine consists of click here.