Motion for Bill of Particulars

A criminal defense attorney in Utah can file a motion for bill of particulars to ask the court, pursuant to Rule 4(e) of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure, to enter an order directing the state to provide a bill of particulars in this case.

In many Utah criminal cases, the bill of particulars is needed to both assist the vourt in determining whether evidence that the state intends to introduce at trial is admissible, and to enable the defendant to adequately prepare his or her defense to the charges in the information or the amended information.

Attorney for a Bill of Particulars in Salt Lake City, UT

What happens when the prosecutor makes vague accusations against a person accused of a crime in the charging document? In those cases, the criminal defense attorney should carefully draft and file a motion for a bill of particulars prior to arraignment to explain why more particularity is needed.

The attorneys at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP, understand the importance of the rules of criminal procedure in Utah and how those rules might apply to your case. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat in Salt Lake City, Utah, to discuss your case.

Call (801) 532-5297 today.

Requirements of Utah's Rule 4(e)

Rule 4(e) provides, in relevant part, that "when facts not set out in an information are required to inform a defendant of the nature and cause of the offense charged, so as to enable the defendant to prepare a defense, the defendant may file a written motion for a bill of particulars."

Additionally, this rule provides that the motion shall be filed at arraignment or within 14 days or "such later time as the court may permit." Further, the court "may, on its own motion, direct the filing of a bill or particulars."

When the defendant does not file this motion within 14 days of arraignment, or prior to the date agreed upon for filing pretrial motions, the defendant can ask for leave of court or that this court direct the filing on its own motion as provided by Rule 4.

In many cases, the reason for the delay in filing the motion for a bill of particulars is because there was some degree of misunderstanding in the nature of the charges which became more apparent after the state provided additional discovery or notices of its intention to introduce additional evidence previously unknown to the defense.

In State v. Bell, 770 P.2d 100, 111 (Utah 1988), the Utah Supreme Court reversed the defendant's conviction where the State had not given adequate notice of the charges finding that the failure to provide a bill of particulars impeded the accused's ability to prepare for trial - which eroded the court's confidence in the outcome of the trial.  For instance, the State's verbatim recitation of the criminal statute is often inadequate and impedes the ability of the defense to understand the State's case.

Additional Resources

Utah’s Rule 4. Prosecution by Information - The rule of procedure in Utah contains the rules for the format required by the rules of the Judicial Council, facts that must be contained in the information, the process for determining whether there is probable cause to support the allegations, reasons the information can be amended, and the requirements of the written motion for a bill of particulars.

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