Michigan criminal defense lawyer explains the discovery process

by | Dec 14, 2015 | Criminal Defense | 0 comments

Michigan criminal defense attorneys are familiar with the three-steps that occur in the discovery process to obtain important documents and other information that is relevant to your case.

Voluntary disclosure

The first and easiest discovery method is for a criminal defense attorney to gain information through a voluntary disclosure from the prosecution. This usually occurs at the time of arraignment, and generally includes:

  • A report of your criminal history.
  • Copies of any statements that you made to law enforcement officials.

The prosecutor may also offer to make documentary evidence available to the defense.

Informal request for discovery

The second way that criminal defense attorneys obtain information is through an informal request or demand for the information prior to filing a motion.

Some prosecutor’s offices have a standardized form that a criminal defense lawyer can use to simply check the documents he or she wants. More specific requests can be made with a supplement to the form and/or a discovery letter from the defense lawyer.

Motion for discovery

If information has not been forthcoming, a criminal defense attorney can file a motion with the court for discovery.

Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, many courts will use their discretion to require the prosecution to provide some additional discovery.

To convince a judge that the prosecution should provide additional discovery, criminal defense lawyer make the following types of arguments:

  • It is impossible to provide adequate advice to you about whether or not you should plead guilty without having certain information (e.g., witness statements). With this information it may be possible to resolve the case sooner, thus saving the court’s time.
  • It is necessary to know more facts to potentially file pretrial motions challenging the admissibility of certain evidence. Getting the information at the last minute could result in a postponement of the trial.
  • If both parties are able to review the evidence well in advance, they will be able to focus on the real issues, and may even come to agreements on certain points, which could speed up the trial.

Get help with from an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer

Dealing with the prosecution to obtain information takes an experienced criminal defense lawyer. For help with your criminal defense, contact Michigan criminal defense attorney Chris Trainor.


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