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What is Discovery?

What is Discovery?

When I first meet with prospective client, many of the them ask me what I think of their case, or what arguments I will make to win their case, or if I think they will go to prison or get probation. Before any lawyer might be able to answer any of these questions, a lawyer must receive and review ‘the discovery’. Before any lawyer can truly start fighting your case, the lawyer must review the ‘discovery’. If a lawyer makes any predictions about your case without reviewing the discovery, that lawyer is not being honest with you. So, what is discovery, why is it so important, and and how does the lawyer gets it?

Discovery is just another fancy legal term that describes the exchange of evidence from the prosecution to your lawyer. A defendant’s lawyer has the right to obtain any and all evidence the prosecution has in its possession that tends to prove both guilt and innocence. That could include for instance police reports, video and audio recordings, photographs, cell phone records, bank records, statements made by witnesses or the defendant, expert witness opinions, etc.

In order to obtain the discovery, a lawyer should file a Motion for Discovery that moves the court to order the prosecution to turn over the evidence. The motion should specifically lists the exact evidence the prosecution must disclose. Frustratingly, a prosecutor will not turn over the discovery right away. In fact, in some cases, it can take at least a year for the prosecution to turn over every piece of evidence requested. That is why cases take such a long time to resolve or go to trial. But once the discovery is turned over, an experienced lawyer should know how to conduct an independent investigation into the evidence and developed a successful theory to defend the client.

Knowing exactly when a discovery motion should be filed and what discovery should be requested requires an experienced criminal defense attorney. The experienced lawyers at Pissetzky & Berliner know exactly what evidence a prosecutor must turn over, and they successfully litigated cases in both state and federal courts across the country after receiving the desired discovery. If you or a loved one are facing serious criminal charges, contact us today.

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