The term “discovery” refers to rules of procedure in a criminal case that lawyers use before trial to gather information about the nature and quality of the evidence possessed by the opposing side.
Examples might include written demands for the inspection and production of documents, pre-trial depositions of potential witnesses, undertaking an examination of the scene along with the motions employed to compel disclosure and enforce these discovery rights.
The theory of liberal rights of discovery is to avoid trial by ambush, and ensure that all parties who go to trial will have as much knowledge of relevant information as possible, and that neither party should be able to keep secrets from the other.
Florida laws permit both sides to obtain access to much of the information that is not privileged (meaning that certain evidence is protected from disclosure based upon some confidentiality, or recognized privilege to not make disclosures).
In your DUI-DWI case, discovery is the formal process by which your side and the prosecution exchange information in accordance with state procedural rules regarding possible evidence and testimony regarding your case. In Florida, the prosecution must disclose certain information.
This may entail releasing as little as the results from any scientific (blood, breath or urine) tests that the state proposes to admit at your trial, a copy of the police report, the names of any witnesses they plan on using at trial, any statements you made to the police, and any exculpatory evidence.
The prosecutor must reveal to you and/or your attorney any evidence in the possession of the prosecution which shows or tends to show that you did not commit the crime of which you are charged, in accordance with the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in Brady v. Maryland.
Your DUI-DWI specialist can better explain your discovery rights to you. He or she may utilize discovery at the administrative hearing to augment discovery or get a preview of what is to come later in your criminal case.