How Does Motion for New Trial Georgia Work?

A motion for a new trial asks the trial court to vacate its judgment and order a new trial based on significant errors during the initial trial. Contact Strickland Webster, LLC for assistance today.

Filing a Motion for a New Trial in Georgia


A motion for a new trial is a type of motion filed before a court asking it to vacate the judgment passed by a judge during an initial trial.

If you are convicted of a crime following a trial in Georgia, you may feel your case has concluded. However, this may not be the case. In addition to appealing the decision, you can file a motion for a new trial, which could prompt the judge to discard the previous final judgment and retry your case.

Motions are a standard component of all types of civil and criminal cases. They are there to preserve your rights and to request a decision, an order, or a verdict from the judge. Certain motions must be filed at the onset of a case, or they will be waived.

Seeking a new trial is a potentially risky decision. Consider carefully discussing your matter with a post-conviction relief attorney to decide if you should file for a new trial. Even with a new trial, there is a possibility that the outcome will remain the same. Therefore, consider weighing the additional resources, time, and money involved before filing such a motion.

Read on as we discuss everything you need to know about the motion for a new trial in Georgia.

Who Can Request a New Trial in Georgia?


In most civil cases, like divorce cases, either party can file a motion for a new trial. However, defendants commonly file motions for a new trial following guilty convictions in Georgia criminal cases.

An acquittal may prevent the prosecution from requesting a new trial. This is due to the principle of double jeopardy. As a result of the Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy clause, a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same offense.

That said, whoever requests a new trial must submit the motion within thirty (30) days of the final judgment date. An extension of this timeline may be granted at the discretion of the court in extraordinary circumstances.

Grounds for a New Trial


Typically, the success of these requests requires demonstrating that the trial court failed to uphold the defendant’s right to a fair trial. These motions are reviewed by the trial judge, not an appellate judge. As such, convincing the judge of their mistake can be challenging.

The grounds for a new trial include a case where the final judgment entered thereon is inconsistent with the trial evidence and opposed to the statutes controlling the trial issues. The purpose of a move for a new trial is to revisit the issues and verdict returned by the trial court during the initial trial.

New trials are difficult to win, but they can be won if the trial defendant presents evidence of serious errors or new exculpatory evidence. A judge may grant a new trial based on the following grounds:

  1. The verdict returned goes against the evidence and violates justice.
  2. The verdict returned is against the weight of the evidence presented.
  3. The trial court committed an error through an illegal admission or exclusion of evidence.
  4. Presence of newly discovered evidence.
  5. Other justifications as per the judge’s discretion.

Occasionally, a motion for a new trial will be granted if a grave injustice occurred during the initial trial. This may involve proof of bias or prejudice on the part of jury members, undermining the defendant’s right to a fair trial by jury.

In other instances, a judge may grant a new trial based on injustice if the trial judge or trial prosecution failed to respect the defendant’s constitutional rights. Moreover, the prosecution cannot typically use the defendant’s exercise of their right to remain silent against them.

The evidence may also indicate that the defendant was stopped from testifying due to threats or manipulation. This may warrant a new trial.

What Happens if Your Motion for New Trial Is Granted?


If the motion for a new trial is granted, the case’s outcome will be overturned, and the matter will have to be re-litigated entirely from the beginning.

However, if the judge denies the request, the defendant has the option of appealing the decision and asking a higher court to review the trial judge’s decision.

What Is the Difference Between New Trials and Appeals in Georgia?


An appeal is not a new trial. While these two processes may look alike, the following are some differences between the two:

New Trials

During a new trial, the defendant gets to present evidence such as images, documents, witness testimony, expert views, forensic evidence, phone records, and more.

A judge presides over jury trials, in which a group of 12 jurors determines your case based on the facts. In trials without a jury, sometimes called “bench trials,” the judge presides over the proceedings and renders the judgment.


A panel of judges reviews your trial during an appeal. You cannot submit new evidence or call new witnesses since there is no jury. The judges will only consider the evidence given during the initial trial.

In most instances, the judges will not dispute the trial’s facts unless the evidence presented directly contradicts the verdict. They mostly either affirm or reverse the decision of the trial court. A case is generally remanded (sent back) to the trial court if the appellate court reverses a decision.

To request an appeal, your attorney will file a notice in the court where your case was initially heard stating that you want the Court of Appeals to examine your case. When transferring your case to the Court of Appeals, your attorney will submit a brief detailing any instances of error or carelessness and how they affected your case.

Throughout this procedure, attorneys are occasionally called upon to provide oral arguments. Yet, it is considerably more typical for the decision to be based only on the arguments. This may be a reason to consider working with an attorney with experience producing persuasive briefs.

Why You Need an Attorney


The process of filing a motion for a new trial can be complicated. The success of the entire process depends on your ability to show proof beyond reasonable doubt that the trial court erred in its judgment.

Additionally, most people only get one opportunity to file a motion for a new trial. The deadline for filing your motion is very short. If your attorney fails to file the proper paperwork at the appropriate court promptly, you may not be able to file the motion again.

Even if the deadline is exceeded, a good lawyer may be able to submit an extraordinary motion for a new trial on certain grounds depending on the circumstances of your case. For these reasons, consider hiring an experienced and knowledgeable trial counsel.

If you have any other questions about this topic, you can speak with our attorneys at Strickland Webster, LLC, who believe in providing passionate and effective service to their clients. Contact us to schedule a free consultation today!