Whenever you are arrested for a crime, there is a certain amount of evidence against you. This evidence is called the discovery. So often we get calls at our office asking what the attorney can do for their case. Often times, the only thing we can say is that we have to assess the discovery first.
What is a Discovery in Law?
In law, the discovery is all of the evidence that the police and the District Attorney’s office has against you. This often includes the following:
- Police reports,
- Criminal history,
- Formal Complaint and Affidavit,
- Search Warrants,
- Arrest Warrants,
- Body Camera footage,
- Interviews of the alleged victim and witnesses.
Discovery is not limited to the above; it can encompass more evidence against you.
About Discovery in Law
Getting the discovery in a case against you can be a difficult and frustrating process. It is often strenuous for our clients to read documents about themselves and not be able to voice their opinion.
The discovery in a case is not always accurate. Most of the time, people feel afraid and frustrated when they read police reports. They often feel this way because some aspects of the incident are missing and other aspects are just plain wrong. In certain types of cases, it can be grueling to hear loved ones talk about you in an unfavorable manner.
What you need to understand is that the discovery is not entirely factual all the time. The evidence that is collected by law enforcement can have mistakes. It is up to you and your attorney to shed light on what is wrong about the discovery. What is missing? What information did law enforcement misunderstand? This is one of the many ways that your attorney can attempt to mitigate the issue at hand.
The discovery in a case can be updated throughout the entirety of the case. Due to the nature of investigations, new evidence is usually uncovered as the investigation progresses.
Another important aspect of discovery is that every piece of evidence the state has against you is required by statute to be handed over to the defendant and his or her attorney. This is called Colorado Rules of Evidence, Rule 16. This is helpful because it ensures there are no surprises in the event that your case goes to trial. Your attorney knows all of the evidence and can adequately prepare for your trial.
Now, this is not the same when the defendant has evidence. The defendant is not required to hand over all the evidence that they have in their possession or that they uncover during any independent investigation of their own. It usually is in your best interest to use it as a bargaining chip or a way to show the District Attorney that their case is not what it seems to be.
Receiving Your Discovery
When you receive your discovery, you should read it very carefully. Pay attention to the details. Make sure to let your attorney know what is incorrect and what is missing. Your attorney needs your full cooperation in order to help you. So help them, be involved, and don’t be overwhelmed.
Going through the court system is a very stressful and daunting task. Make sure to take care of your health and other needs. Understand that sometimes it gets darkest before the dawn. Trust your attorney and do your part.
M. Colin Bresee is a very experienced attorney. He knows the ins and the outs of the criminal system and all the players involved. Let him assess your discovery and give you his advice and opinion on how to proceed. Contact our office for a consultation.
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