In U.S. law, a motion in limine (Latin: "at the start", literally, "on the threshold") is a written motion ("request") to a judge that can be used for civil or criminal proceedings, and at the state or federal level. A frequent use is at a pre-trial hearing or during an actual trial, requesting that the judge rule that certain testimony regarding evidence or information may be included or excluded. The motion is always discussed outside the presence of the jury and is always decided by a judge. The reasons for the motions are wide and varied, but probably the most frequent use of the motion in limine in a criminal trial is to shield the jury from information concerning the defendant that could possibly be unfairly prejudicial to him if heard at trial. Some others arise under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to comply with discovery.