Discovery Process for Leesburg DUI
Discovery is the process in which the defense attorney investigates a case. Usually, when discussing discovery, we mean the particular requests for information from the commonwealth attorney’s office or the state. In a criminal case such as a Leesburg DUI, the discovery process is between the defendant and the commonwealth attorney’s office. a good defense attorney will also employ other vehicles of discovery, such as subpoena power, to request documents or other tangible items and testimony from witnesses. A skilled DUI attorney will issue subpoenas through the district court clerk’s office to third parties, such as the department of forensic science.
The discovery process for Leesburg DUI cases is an essential part of the criminal trial process. The prosecution and state is only obliged to turn over the barest possible evidence in a case, but oftentimes, they will turn over more if the defense attorney knows how to make the proper requests and motions. While a defendant has a right to all relevant information and evidence in discovery, knowing how to use and apply that evidence is difficult. A seasoned attorney could sift through all the materials provided during discovery and build a strong defense from the information that is actually relevant.
Unique Aspects of DUI Discovery
DUI discovery is limited like any other criminal discovery in the Commonwealth of Virginia. DUI discovery is usually done in the general district court. An attorney must file an order to have discovery granted in a case for the commonwealth’s attorney to prepare that discovery, make time to analyze the discovery, and copy everything permitted and necessary. Discovery usually happens at least seven days before the trial begins.
Under Virginia statute, the Commonwealth is only required to share any statements that are recorded, written content, audio, video, any criminal history of the accused, and any exculpatory statement. An exculpatory statement is any information that could disprove guilt and prove innocence. In DUI cases, a defendant’s driving record is often disclosed. In Leesburg DUI cases, defense attorneys could expect to get access to an officer’s report, body-cam or dash-cam footage, as well as any third-party video or information that is known to the Commonwealth and in their file.
After this order is entered, by local procedure, the defense attorney then contacts the commonwealth attorney’s office and requests that the discovery be provided. Discovery is provided according to the rules. While there are certain instances in which discovery is requested directly to the commonwealth attorney’s office, most notably in felony cases, it is a good idea to have a discovery order entered by the court to ensure that discovery is properly followed.
Subpoenas and Their Power in Leesburg DUI Discovery
A subpoena is a court-enforced request to appear in court to testify or to provide evidence before the court date, and is often used during the discovery process for DUI cases in Leesburg. There are two different types of subpoenas in criminal cases. The first kind is a witness subpoena, summoning an individual to the court at an appointed time for testimony.
There is also a subpoena duces tecum, which is a request for documents and other tangible items. A subpoena duces tecum may be used in a DUI case if someone is requesting certain records such as employment records, medical records, or they are requesting third-party video that is not in the possession of law enforcement.
Without a subpoena, witnesses are not required to show up in court or turn over documents to a defense attorney. However, if a subpoena is issued and someone who has been correctly served that court order does not show up, the defense may get some relief and the witness may be arrested.
Allow a Leesburg DUI Lawyer to Handle Discovery in Your Case
People should know that even though Virginia has been working on extending their discovery process, discovery is still rather limited in Virginia. What is required by statute is certainly less than in many other places. However, the Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office does a good job of trying to provide more information than the statute requires.
If you are going to trial for a DUI offense, it is essential to hire a seasoned attorney immediately. The discovery process for Leesburg DUI cases requires knowledge and work to be beneficial. A criminal lawyer should be able to take all the raw information from discovery and turn it into a strong defense. Call today to schedule a consultation and start collecting the necessary evidence.