If you have been arrested, one of the first things a criminal defense attorney does is file a “Demand for Discovery” and serve it on the prosecutor. This helps prepare the defense of your case by requiring the prosecutor to turn over information and evidence to the defense lawyer. This is an essential tool in the defense of a case because it lets the attorney and defendant know what they are up against, what defenses are available, and where the prosecutor’s evidence is lacking on an essential element of the crime. However, once a defendant chooses to participate in Discovery, the Rules of Criminal Procedure in Florida place an obligation on the defense as well. “Discovery” is a two-way street.
Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.220 (d) requires the defendant to also provide:
- A written list of the names and addresses of all witnesses whom the defendant expects to call as witnesses at the trial or hearing,
- Any witness statement (other than the person arrested),
- Reports or statements of defense experts (including results of physical or mental examinations and of scientific tests, experiments, or comparisons),
- any tangible papers or objects that the defendant intends to use in the hearing or trial.
The prosecutor is also allowed to inspect, copy, test, and photograph the above information and material that is in the defendant‘s possession or control.
That is why it is very important that you start collecting evidence in your case IMMEDIATELY. This may include text messages, voice mails, pictures of the alleged scene, witness names and phone numbers, letters, or anything else that may help in the defense of your case. If you wait until the day of trial, the judge could rule that you committed a DISCOVERY VIOLATION for not timely revealing the information and the court may EXCLUDE it from evidence! That means the evidence would be inadmissible and the jury would never hear your evidence!
If you have been arrested, collect this evidence right away and get it to your defense attorney! Otherwise the evidence may be destroyed (such as a gas station video, evidence may have to be subpoenaed to obtain it, and it could be excluded if not timely disclosed to the prosecutor.
If you have been arrested, retain an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows Florida’s Rules of Criminal Procedure!
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