What Is A Motion To Quash? (or What Is A Motion To Squash?)

First things first. The correct term is “Motion to Quash.” People often mishear, mispronounce, or search the Internet for “Motion to Squash.” Now you know. Also, Motions to Quash are called Writs of Habeas Corpus in many counties in Pennsylvania.

Individuals accused of committing crimes in Philadelphia, the surrounding counties, and throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania often search for a criminal defense lawyer to help them file a Motion to Quash in their case. 

So, what is a Motion to Quash? It is a request to a court to find that a lower court’s decision was incorrect, and therefore that decision should be reversed or changed. Simplifying as much as possible, a Motion to Quash is like an appeal during your case instead of after the verdict. 

For example, in Pennsylvania, if you or a loved one is charged with a felony offense in Philadelphia or a misdemeanor or felony in one of the surrounding counties, the accused will have a preliminary hearing. At that hearing, a Magisterial District Court Judge (or Municipal Court Judge) will decide if the prosecution has proven it is more likely than not that a crime was committed and that the accused is the person who committed the crime. The lower court judge will complete that analysis for each charge. 

If the judge at the preliminary hearing decides that the defendant should be “bound over” for trial, the case proceeds to the Court of Common Pleas. In the Court of Common Pleas, a defendant can file a Motion to Quash, arguing to the Common Pleas judge that the municipal or district court judge made a mistake.

If granted, the charges that were held for trial at the preliminary hearing will be reduced or dismissed accordingly. This is a huge win, but unfortunately, Motions to Quash are rarely granted. Sometimes, it is not even the best course of action for ultimately winning your case.

The strategic decision of whether or not you or your loved one should file a Motion to Quash should be made by consulting a criminal defense firm. You want to make the right decision on whether or not to file a Motion to Quash and, if so, you want the motion to be well-researched, professionally written, and appropriately argued before the judge. If you reach out to Philadelphia Attorney Stephen Stewart for a free initial consultation, he will be able to provide a confidential evaluation of your case.

If you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges and one of the questions is whether you should file a Motion to Quash, you should contact this firm for a confidential and free consultation. Call 215-650-6500 or email us at hello@stephenstewartlaw.com.


If you have a question about whether to file a Motion to Quash in a situation involving you or a loved one, call now to speak with a lawyer.


If you are facing an emergency, please call 215-650-6500. An initial conversation with Attorney Stephen Stewart is free and confidential. There's no obligation to hire Mr. Stewart after a consultation.

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