Is a Change of Venue in Order?

If you are facing criminal charges, there may be circumstances when a change of venue is appropriate. What are those situations, what are the benefits of such a change, and what are the procedures to get a change of venue?

When is a Change of Venue Request Appropriate?

There is an array of reasons for which a change of venue may be requested. Obviously, if the charges were filed in the wrong court, to begin with, there will be a venue change—but there are other reasons for a change, as well. The bottom line is that every defendant deserves a fair and impartial trial. One key reason might be if the defendant believes it will be impossible to find an impartial jury, such as when a case has been locally publicized and there is strong public sentiment about it. Especially if there has been frequent and significant coverage related to the event in question, it may heavily influence prospective jurors. Likewise, if the political climate in an area is decidedly against a particular defendant (for being Black or LGBTQ, for example), it is possible a change of venue might be granted. Additionally, a change might be in order if the judge appears to be prejudiced, if a qualified judge is not available, or if the location of the court is substantially inconvenient for the non-party witnesses involved such that it would interfere with providing an unbiased and timely trial.

Steps in the Change

In order to get a change of venue, a motion must be filed with the court within a particular time frame. If the request is granted, the judge involved will suggest alternate sites for the trial based on the specifics of the case. At that point, the Judicial Council of California looks into other courts to consider issues like security issues, staffing needs, media involvement, costs, the presumed length of the trial, and other considerations specific to the case. The Judicial Council then provides three or more alternative courts that could handle the case to the judge who granted the venue change. A hearing is then held by that judge where the opinions of both sides in the case are considered, and a new venue is chosen. That decision then makes its way to each court that had been under consideration. The whole process generally takes a couple of weeks in most cases.

Advocating for You

At Boertje & Associates, our experienced attorneys will do everything possible to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients. That requires attention to detail and hard work before the trial ever occurs. In some cases, a change of venue is one piece of the puzzle in getting a positive result. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our San Diego office today.

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