Colonial Heights DUI Discovery Process

The Colonial Heights DUI discovery process refers to the laws set out by the Virginia Assembly requiring the Commonwealth to turn over certain information to defense counsel in reference to someone’s case; whether it be a DUI or otherwise. The discovery rules in Virginia are very slim when it comes to DUI. Since most DUIs are going to be misdemeanor offenses, the rules are simple. If you want to know more, consult an experienced lawyer that could answer questions.

Laws During the Discovery Process

The laws in reference to discovery on misdemeanor offenses only require that the Commonwealth turn over an individual’s criminal record and any statements that they have made, during the Colonial Heights DUI discovery process. That is all that the law requires. In Colonial Heights, they go above the law when dealing in discovery matters, and do what is called open-file discovery. Open-file discovery means that the defense attorney signs a form and then is allowed to review all the information that they have in reference to the DUI or any misdemeanor for that matter, to make sure that they are seen as not doing any underhanded work. They are giving the defense everything right then and are not trying to hide anything from the defense.

How Does the Discovery Process Begin?

The Colonial Heights DUI discovery process begins when the defense counsel files for discovery. They ask that the court to order the Commonwealth to turn over certain information that is considered discoverable. Once that motion is filed, the Commonwealth can respond to it by either turning over the discoverable information or, if they have some objection to the motion (they may consider certain things not discoverable), then they will file an objection. If they do not file an objection, then the court will order the Commonwealth to turn over the information. If they do file an objection, the court will set a hearing date so that both sides can be heard on whether the information is discoverable or not.

A defense attorney should seek discovery from anybody who has it, whether it be the police, investigators, independent witnesses; whatever the case may be. Normally, though, they are going to seek discovery from the Commonwealth through their filing of motions.

Evidence That Discoverable Evidence Might Include

In General District Court, the only thing that they are going to consider discoverable is going to be the individual’s record and statements that they have made, as long as they are considered to be discoverable information by law. However, in Colonial Heights they will give the defense anything in their file. If there is other information that, while not necessarily considered discoverable, is exculpatory, that information should be turned over as well.

The government has the discoverable information and the government responds to motions that are filed. Interrogatories are written questions sent to the opposite party who is to answer under oath.  This document is for discovery only and is not filed with the court. This is used in civil litigation. Interrogatories are normally used in civil matters, not criminal. While defense attorneys can request discovery directly from the Commonwealth, that request will not be enforced by a judge. It does not have to be filed with the court. In order for any request for discovery to be enforced by a judge, it needs to be filed through the proper channels.

Subpoenas During the Discovery Process

A subpoena is a court order, signed by a judge, to force an individual to either show up at court or turn over certain documents. Subpoenas are used very often in DUI cases. They are normally used to secure the appearance of certain individuals who are privy to the DUI, e.g., the Department of Forensic Science, to make sure that they come to court to testify in the case. The role of the subpoena is either to ensure that people show up at court or to secure certain evidentiary items that should be made available to the court.

Important Aspects of the Discovery Process in Colonial Heights

The Colonial Heights DUI discovery process is very limited. The defense attorney is not going to get too much by filing discoveries through the courts. In Colonial Heights, they will definitely get more by speaking with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and working with them to get as much information as they can. If an individual has been charged with a DUI offense, they should consult a knowledgeable attorney that could answer any questions they have about the discovery process.