What Is Discovery? How Does It Impact My DUI Arrest?
Understanding The Discovery Process In An Arizona DUI Case
After a DUI arrest in Arizona, discovery is just one of the legal terms you’ll need to familiarize yourself with to successfully defend against DUI charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to guide you through this process. Make sure you retain a DUI defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest so every step of your case is completed thoroughly and correctly, maximizing your chances of a favorable plea bargain or not guilty verdict.
What Is Discovery In Law?
If you’re new to the criminal defense system, you will need to educate yourself about the discovery process. In a DUI case, this is the formal exchange of information and evidence between prosecution and defense. Prosecution will be seeking to uncover evidence of your guilt, while your DUI defense attorney will look for evidence that exonerates you. Discovery can make plea bargaining more likely, as the opposing parties will have a better idea of what will happen at trial.
What Are The Three Types Of Discovery?
Both parties are entitled to see all evidence that will be used in the case against them. Many types of evidence would be infeasible to review for the first time in a courtroom, especially lengthy accident reports and medical records. Therefore, both sides can submit requests for production of documents relevant to the case.
Some requests for production will be vague, while others will be more specific. In broader requests, you will need to supply any applicable documents in your possession, custody, or control. This means that even if you don’t physically have the documents available but have the ability to access them, the discovery process requires you to do so.
Sometimes it is easier for the parties to agree to certain facts surrounding the case rather than prove them with evidence and waste time arguing about them in court. That’s why lawyers use interrogatories and requests for admission to speed up the trial process. There will be standard interrogatories for Arizona DUI cases, but prosecution may submit unique questions depending on the facts of your case. Failure to respond to written discovery requests within the applicable time frame will result in those statements being admitted.
Depositions are sworn statements made in response to questions that an attorney asks about a case. There is typically a court reporter or stenographer present. Expert witnesses can also be deposed to discuss medical treatments, the mechanics of an accident, and more. Depending on the complexity of the case, a deposition may finish in as quickly as an hour, but may take up to weeks to complete. The other side’s attorney may make objections and otherwise defend the person being deposed. It is generally a good idea to strictly answer questions you are asked in a deposition, without trailing off or providing unsolicited information.
Common Examples Of Documents Produced During Discovery In a DUI Case
Lab Results & Other Documentation Showing Your BAC At The Time Of Arrest
After testing your breath for alcohol, the police will test your blood or urine for alcohol for a more accurate reading of your blood alcohol content at the time of arrest.
Photos, Videos, etc. Showing Physical Damage
If you got in a fight, struck something with your vehicle, or otherwise caused damage on the night of your arrest, evidence of this can be used to show you were intoxicated.
Statements Made To Police & Others After Being Placed In Custody
When you are placed under arrest for DUI, the police officers are required to read you your Miranda Rights. The first of these is the right to remain silent. Once your Miranda Rights have been read to you, any statements you make to police can be used against you. If you admit to being intoxicated while in custody, it will make it harder for you to plea bargain or win at trial.
Statements From Witnesses, Servers, Bartenders, etc.
These statements can be collected before trial during a deposition. A bartender could attest to how many drinks you were served, or a witness could describe your rowdy behavior on the night of the arrest.
Dash Cam & Body Cam Footage From Police
This footage could show your erratic driving, intoxicated behavior during the stop, and more. It may also reveal police procedural errors and other factors that could be used in your defense.
Breathalyzer Test Results
This is a test used to measure your blood alcohol content before chemical testing. In Arizona, you will be presumed to be intoxicated if you have a BAC of .08 or higher. However, you can also be arrested for DUI- impaired to the slightest degree if you have a BAC between .04 and .079. A driver under 21 can be charged with a DUI in Arizona for any amount of alcohol in their system.
Benefits Of Discovery In Your DUI Case
- You may discover evidence that can help your case.
- You could reveal procedural errors, or mistakes in the chain of custody of evidence that could cause your charges to be reduced or dismissed.
- Prosecution may drop your case if insufficient evidence against you is found during discovery.
- Your attorney may be able to take some steps of the discovery process, like eyewitness depositions, as an opportunity to damage the prosecution’s case against you.
Drawbacks Of Discovery If You’re Facing DUI Charges
- It’s expensive. The discovery process takes up more hours of your attorney’s time, and you may need to pay for third-party services and other expenses in the process.
- Failure to be honest during the discovery process will make you look more guilty if uncovered, and could result in additional penalties.
- There are strict time limits you must adhere to during the discovery process.
- Responding to several requests for production and admission can be burdensome.
Contact An Experienced Arizona DUI Attorney When Facing Charges
If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Arizona, you are facing serious penalties, including mandatory jail time. If this isn’t your first arrest, the consequences will be even more serious. With all that’s at stake, you shouldn’t face your charges alone, or with an attorney you don’t trust. Therefore, for quality DUI representation at an affordable price, call our Arizona Zero Down DUI Lawyers today to schedule your free consultation.
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys know how to get the possible outcome for clients in DUI cases just like yours. Your initial consultation is free, and we offer payment options for our clients starting as low as Zero Dollars Down. Additionally, our payment plan options make quality DUI defense representation affordable for your budget.
Call or use our online form to schedule your free consultation. We offer consultations by phone and have same day appointments available.
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