One of the initial phases of the
DUI legal process is known as “discovery,” which is when your
attorney requests evidence and information related to your case from the
prosecution. Prosecutors are obligated to turn over the requested documents
so that you can use it in developing a defense for your case. This process
occurs prior to trial and even before the preliminary hearing, in some cases.
Unfortunately, there have been many instances where prosecutors—and
law enforcement—withhold specific items that often would exonerate
you or make your defense appear strong. However, this type of behavior
If you believe the prosecution is withholding evidence and information
related to your case, you have the right to file a motion with the court
known as a “Brady motion.” In some cases, a Brady motion could
result in the dismissal of your case.
What is a Brady Motion?
Brady v. Maryland was a Supreme Court case that involved an alleged murderer,
John Leo Brady. Brady had been convicted of murder along with an accomplice,
Donald Boblit. From the start of the case, Brad had maintained his innocence.
However, a confession from Boblit supported Brady’s claim. Boblit
wrote that he had killed the victim on his own power. The prosecutors
had possessed this document and knew it could clear Brady’s name.
Unfortunately, they did not turn it over during the discovery process.
The Supreme Court ruled that this violated Brady’s constitutional
right to due process. Nowadays, any such withholding of evidence or information
is known as a Brady violation.
How Does a Brady Motion Apply to Your Case?
A Brady violation is much more than a simple mistake. It is taken quite
seriously because (1) it demonstrates an effort—perhaps deliberate—from
the prosecution to deprive you of a fair trial and (2) it demonstrates
that the prosecution is biased against you and hopes to convict you despite
the evidence stating otherwise.
The DUI process begins with an informal request, asking the prosecution
to hand over various forms of information, such as:
- All the evidence which the prosecution plans to use against you
- A list of certain documents or pieces of evidence requested by your attorney
- A more general list of types of evidence, including witness statements
As soon as this information is requested, it is mandatory for the prosecution
to fulfill the request. If the prosecution fails to give you the information
or pieces of evidence within a minimum of 30 days before your trial, your
attorney can start a discovery motion, which asks the judge to enforce
the discovery demand. If your attorney discovers that any information
was withheld, he or she can file a Brady motion.
Arrested for a DUI in Ventura County, CA?
Contact The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers and request a
free consultation with our Ventura DUI lawyer today.