When challenging a DUI charge, evidence can take on an even heavier significance. In many instances, an attorney may want to seek discovery. Discovery refers to the right to access any information that the government and prosecution may have on the accused’s case.
Florida is one of the few states that have open discovery when it relates to all crimes. The discovery process in relation to DUIs would be that the attorney, in electing to participate in the discovery process, is demanding access to all of the evidence the prosecution and the government have on the defendant’s case. The defense lawyer had the right to inspect that evidence, copy it, and so on.
The West Palm Beach DUI discovery process begins as soon as it is demanded. All the attorney needs to do is file a written demand for discovery. The State normally will comply within 30 to 45 days and give the person everything that the State has against the defendant. If an individual wants to pursue discovery, they should consult a skilled DUI lawyer that can help them navigate the process.
Who Can a Defense Attorney Seek Discovery From?
A defense attorney would be able to seek discovery from the prosecutors and the State Attorney’s office. It could also include law enforcement, the police department and any other agencies that are responsible for prosecuting the person.
Normally, evidence gathered by the State Attorney’s Office, but the State Attorney’s Office may not have everything and may redirect the attorney to other relevant parties like the investigative arm of the government, and the law enforcement agency that is working for the government to get any information that they have.
The defense might seek discovery from both expert and ordinary witnesses. Then from that, depending upon what the defense finds, they may be looking for other experts to testify, like a toxicologist, or someone who is well-versed in the workings of the Intoxilyzer depending upon the issues that are discovered in discovery.
Examples of Evidence That Might Be in Discovery
- Witness Statements
- Test Results
Discovery is Ongoing and Reciprocal
One important aspect to know about the West Palm Beach DUI discovery process is that the government will give a person their initial response 30 to 45 days upon request. Discovery is ongoing all the time. The government may be gathering further evidence of the case and they realize that there is another law enforcement officer that has written reports or information to provide that is not in any report.
They may go back and do a further investigation to talk with eyewitnesses. As the government generates more evidence, they need to turn it over. Once an experienced DUI attorney elects to participate in discovery or demand discovery, the obligation is continuing.
That is also an ongoing process as defense attorney evidence gathers for the person. Whether it is through eyewitnesses or expert witnesses, it is the attorney’s job to gather it and their obligation to turn those over. It is reciprocal as both sides have to share all the information and it has to lead to a full, fair trial with full disclosure of all the facts.
Voluntary Nature of the Discovery Process
The other thing that is important to know about the West Palm Beach DUI discovery process is that it is voluntary. A person does not have to participate in the discovery process. There are certain strategic reasons why the attorney would not pursue discovery, but they are few and far between.
Most experienced West Palm Beach DUI lawyers will want to know what the evidence is against the individual. They will want time to explore that evidence, challenge it, and come up with evidence that contradicts it or rebuts it. If an individual has been charged with a DUI and wants to pursue discovery, they should reach out to a skilled DUI attorney that can help.