What exactly is a Motion for Directed Verdict in a Criminal Case in Philadelphia Pennsylvania? Well, let’s say that you were charged with Aggravated Assault, chose to have a jury trial and the Commonwealth just rested their case. Now, before the Defense puts on a case, your criminal defense lawyer can make a Motion for Directed for some or all the charges. Essentially, your lawyers is saying to the Judge that the Commonwealth, through the Assistant District Attorney, has not presented enough evidence that would allow a reasonable Jury (or a Judge in a waiver trial) to find you guilty. If the Judge agrees then some or all the charges are dismissed at this point. If all the charges are dismissed then the case is over with and it has the same affect as the Defendant being found not guilty of all charges. If some of the charges are dismissed then the trial continues with the remaining charges as the defense presents its case.
The standard of proof is lower than the final trial standard of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, hence, the Motion can be denied for some or all of the charges but after the trial the defendant can be found not guilty (even if the Defense presents no evidence). The reason that it is important that a Motion for Directed Verdict is made by your criminal lawyer is because you never know if the evidence that the Defense presents end up being harmful. For example, the Defendant takes the stand and is not believable — this would obviously hurt the defense’s case and may result in a conviction. Hence, by making the Motion your attorney removes some of your risk of putting on evidence or witnesses testifying.