If you have been charged with DUI in Virginia, you must recognize the severity of the potential punishments you may face. Gathering information about the evidence the prosecutor has against you is an essential step in building a strong defense strategy. An experienced Manassas DUI attorney can engage in the discovery process to obtain the evidence you need to fight the charges against you and protect your legal rights.
How Does the Process of Discovery Work in Virginia DUI Cases?
Discovery is the process your lawyer will use to obtain the evidence the prosecutor is using to try to convict you. The discovery process begins in DUI cases once you hire an attorney.
In Virginia, the discovery process is limited under rules established by the Virginia Supreme Court. However, many judges allow liberal discovery in these cases.
The process of discovery can vary from county to county in Virginia. Each jurisdiction may have unique rules and procedures for exchanging discovery materials. A skilled DUI attorney will be familiar with the specific practices in your jurisdiction and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to obtain the required information.
In some counties, the discovery process is informal, and the prosecutor will allow your lawyer to come to their office to review discovery materials. In other cases, your attorney may need to file a pre-trial motion for discovery. This motion requests the court's intervention in compelling the prosecution to disclose specific evidence or information that may be relevant to your defense.
What DUI Evidence Can You Obtain Through the Discovery Process?
During the discovery process, the following types of evidence may be discoverable in a Virginia DUI case:
- Police reports. Your attorney can obtain copies of the police reports related to your arrest, which can provide valuable insight into the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop, field sobriety tests, and any statements you made.
- Breathalyzer or blood test results. Your lawyer can request the results of any blood or breathalyzer tests administered during your DUI arrest and the calibration records of equipment used to administer these tests. These records will help assess the validity and accuracy of the test and potentially challenge the reliability of the evidence.
- Dashcam or bodycam footage. If available, your attorney may seek access to any video or audio recordings captured by law enforcement officers during the traffic stop and subsequent arrest. Reviewing this footage can help identify potential procedural errors or violations of your constitutional rights.
- Other exculpatory evidence. Your lawyer can also seek other evidence, such as witness statements, that can help prove your innocence or help in your defense.
How Can Subpoenas Be Used to Obtain Evidence Helpful for Your Defense?
To obtain additional evidence, a knowledgeable DUI attorney may use a subpoena. A subpoena is a legal document that requires the production of documents or compels individuals to testify as witnesses. Your lawyer can issue subpoenas to relevant parties, such as medical professionals, expert witnesses, law enforcement officers, and eyewitnesses, to secure their presence in court or obtain crucial documents and records to strengthen your defense strategy.