What Is “Discovery” In The DUI Context?
The word Discovery is used in two different contexts:
Discovery is “lawyer slang” for papers, videos, police reports or other tangible objects that are relevant to a particular case. When a lawyer tells you that they are going to look at the discovery and get back with you; the lawyer is referring to reviewing all the physical things that were turned over to them by the other side then giving you a call to discuss the potential evidence in your case.
Discovery is also a legal term of art for the process of discovering possible evidence that may be used in a case. The process of obtaining discovery usually takes place at the outset of a case. It usually begins with a request by a criminal defense attorney for a law enforcement agency or prosecutor’s office to turn over all the materials they possess concerning a particular crime. This can be as easy as filling out a form at a police station, depending on the jurisdiction. Once the request is submitted then the criminal defense lawyer usually waits a couple of weeks until the information is turned over. Many times when the criminal defense lawyer gets the discovery after the original request there will be items missing. A report that was disclosed after the original request may refer to a video or a statement or something else that was not disclosed after the request. When this happens a criminal defense lawyer will draft a “Request for Discovery and Inspection,” and file it with the court. The “Request for Discovery and Inspection” will outline the objects that the defense lawyer wants the prosecutor to provide. It will then be up to the prosecutor to disclose the undisclosed materials or explain to a judge why they did not.
While this back and forth with the prosecutor’s office is taking place a criminal defense lawyer will also do discovery on his or her own. The criminal defense lawyer may visit the scene of the alleged crime, interview witnesses that have personal knowledge of the events, talk to an expert about some scientific issue, subpoena a police manual that may be useful or hire a private investigator. The discovery process is the time when you gather as much information as possible about an alleged crime so you know all the facts. The discovery process is vital to the outcome of a case, the better job a lawyer does during discovery the better result a client will receive. Discovery is also very time sensitive because witnesses’ memories fade, evidence it removed or destroyed and the passing of time will cause discovery to be less reliable.
Here are some common forms that are available to request discovery in specific jurisdictions.
- Johnson County Discovery Request Form
- Lawrence Discovery Request Form
- Lenexa Discovery Request Form
- Merriam Discovery Request Form
- Mission Discovery Request Form
- Mission Hills Discovery Request Form
- Olathe Discovery Request Form
- Overland Park Discovery Request Form
- Prairie Village Discovery Request Form
- Shawnee Discovery Request Form
Here is an Example of a Request for Discovery and Inspection.
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