Fed. R. Crim. P. 12 - Pleadings and Pretrial Motions
(a) Pleadings. The pleadings in a criminal proceeding are the indictment, the information, and the pleas of not guilty, guilty, and
(b) Pretrial Motions.
(1) In General. Rule 47 applies to a pretrial motion.
(2) Motions That May Be Made Before Trial. A party may
raise by pretrial motion any defense, objection, or request
that the court can determine without a trial of the general
(3) Motions That Must Be Made Before Trial. The following
must be raised before trial:
(A) a motion alleging a defect in instituting the prosecution;
(B) a motion alleging a defect in the indictment or information—but at any time while the case is pending, the
court may hear a claim that the indictment or information fails to invoke the court’s jurisdiction or to state an
(C) a motion to suppress evidence;
(D) a Rule 14 motion to sever charges or defendants; and
(E) a Rule 16 motion for discovery.
(4) Notice of the Government’s Intent to Use Evidence.
(A) At the Government’s Discretion. At the arraignment or
as soon afterward as practicable, the government may notify the defendant of its intent to use specified evidence at
trial in order to afford the defendant an opportunity to object before trial under Rule 12(b)(3)(C).
(B) At the Defendant’s Request. At the arraignment or as
soon afterward as practicable, the defendant may, in order
to have an opportunity to move to suppress evidence under
Rule 12(b)(3)(C), request notice of the government’s intent
to use (in its evidence-in-chief at trial) any evidence that
the defendant may be entitled to discover under Rule 16.
(c) Motion Deadline. The court may, at the arraignment or as
soon afterward as practicable, set a deadline for the parties to
make pretrial motions and may also schedule a motion hearing.
(d) Ruling on a Motion. The court must decide every pretrial motion before trial unless it finds good cause to defer a ruling. The
court must not defer ruling on a pretrial motion if the deferral
will adversely affect a party’s right to appeal. When factual issues
are involved in deciding a motion, the court must state its essential findings on the record.
(e) Waiver of a Defense, Objection, or Request. A party waives
any Rule 12(b)(3) defense, objection, or request not raised by the
deadline the court sets under Rule 12(c) or by any extension the
court provides. For good cause, the court may grant relief from
(f) Recording the Proceedings. All proceedings at a motion hearing, including any findings of fact and conclusions of law made
orally by the court, must be recorded by a court reporter or a suitable recording device.
(g) Defendant’s Continued Custody or Release Status. If the
court grants a motion to dismiss based on a defect in instituting
the prosecution, in the indictment, or in the information, it may
order the defendant to be released or detained under 18 U.S.C.
§ 3142 for a specified time until a new indictment or information
is filed. This rule does not affect any federal statutory period of
(h) Producing Statements at a Suppression Hearing. Rule 26.2 applies at a suppression hearing under Rule 12(b)(3)(C). At a suppression hearing, a law enforcement officer is considered a government witness.