What is a Change of Venue Request?

In most criminal cases, trials occur in the same county (or county equivalent) as where the alleged crime took place.  However, when criminal defense attorneys do not believe that their client can receive a fair trial in the case’s assigned location, they may request a change of venue.  There are several circumstances a court would consider before agreeing to a change of venue request, but if the court agrees that it is unlikely that an impartial jury can be secured in the assigned venue, it may agree to the defense’s request.

In most criminal cases there will not be a need for a change of venue, even if the alleged crime took place in the same county as the assigned court.  Every defendant has the right to fair trial with an unbiased jury, which can usually occur in the home jurisdiction.  However, sometimes reasons may arise that warrant a change of venue.  If a case receives significant pretrial publicity, it may be difficult to pick a jury who is not aware of the case and shows no knowledge of alleged events.  If a defendant is facing obstacles from perceived biases or possible political interference, it may be difficult to receive a fair trial.  Any other considerations that could lead to a court acknowledging that a defendant could be pre-judged by a jury could result in a change of venue request being granted.

Even if the reasons for seeking a change of venue seem apparent, there is no guarantee that the court will honor the request.  There are many factors the courts must consider for a change of venue request, including where to move the trial and ensuring any assigned location can meet the needs of the trial.  A change of venue may also be granted in a way that the trial takes place in the original jurisdiction, but they jury is selected from another county.  Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney will increase the chances that a change of venue request is accepted, as the attorney will know what questions to ask and which evidence to present to the court officers making the decision.

The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth provides a vigorous defense for our clients who have been charged with a crime.  Our goal is to ensure that our clients are treated fairly in the eyes of justice.  If we do not think our clients will receive a fair trial in the assigned court, we will seek a change of venue on their behalf.  All defendants deserve the right to a fair trial before an impartial jury.  If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, contact our law firm today at 888-517-9888.  All initial consultations are free.

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