Discovery Process in Fredericksburg DUI Cases

In Virginia, attorneys do not have the right to discovery in relation to DUIs for misdemeanor offenses, except at trial. This means the prosecutor can state the discovery one minute before trial. If a defense attorney feels they did not have enough time to prepare, they can ask for a continuance and it will be granted. Still, the lawyer will not be allowed to have copies of the discovery, not even police reports. The defense attorney is only entitled to hear about the statements the defendant made or any of the prosecution’s evidence that is likely to exculpate the defendant, which is determined by the prosecutor. It is the practice in Fredericksburg for prosecutors never to give that information sheet unless the defense attorney makes a specific request, and that requires them to know what it is and that it exists. For more information about the discovery process in Fredericksburg DUI cases, consult with a seasoned DUI attorney.

When the Discovery Process Begins

The prosecutor decides when the discovery process in Fredericksburg DUI cases begins. They may reveal the discovery one minute before trial but sometimes they will make it available a week before trial. In the latter case, the defense attorney can only see it in the prosecutor’s office and is not allowed to make copies. Therefore, the defense lawyer will have to take handwritten notes of the charges. Other times, the prosecutor may call the attorney and let them know what the discovery is.

Discoverable DUI Evidence

The only discoverable evidence in DUI cases is statements of the defendant and anything that would potentially exculpate the defendant. This means that sometimes it is a video or a police report, however, the defense attorney will not get a chance to review it. Sometimes the lawyer will only hear the prosecutor’s version of the evidence.

Instead of records of breath or blood tests, the defense will receive a certificate of analysis for the breath or blood test but this is not part of discovery and is filed with the court. Therefore, the defense is left to do its own investigation and under the law, the evidence it gains does not have to be shared with the prosecution.

Filing a Discovery Request

An important part to remember about the discovery process in Fredericksburg DUI cases is that the prosecutor is the only person from whom a defense attorney can get discovery. In Virginia, the defense can file a discovery request to the court, but it will be the same discovery that it would obtain from the prosector. However, it is still imperative to file and ask because the defense needs to be sure there is a safeguard in case the prosecutors do not give them the information. The prosecutor is the only party responsible for discovery in Virginia.

Purpose of a Subpoena

As defined by law, a subpoena is a request for something or someone to be summoned to the court. The purpose of a subpoena in a DUI case is to bring a witness to court or to have documents brought to the court. Witnesses are often times a vital part of the evidence for DUI cases, therefore, it may be essential to the case to subpoena the witness to get them to testify. If you would like to learn more about subpoenas and the discovery process in Fredericksburg DUI cases, consult with a well-established attorney.

Contact Us
Free Consultation