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-Ross W. Albers,Proven DUI Attorney

Did the State’s Attorney’s Office commit a discovery violation in my DUI case?

Category: Maryland DUI,Maryland DWI
September 1, 2016

Discovery is the process through which defendants find out about the prosecution’s case. A discovery violation occurs when the State’s Attorney’s Office fails to disclose information to the defendant about their case.

Recently, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams sanctioned the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for highly-publicized discovery violations in the Freddie Gray cases.  However, discovery violations are not rare missteps.  According to public defenders in Maryland’s largest jurisdictions, discovery violations are a problem across the state.

So, what constitutes a discovery violation in a DUI case?

District Court Discovery

Discovery in District Court is governed by Md. Rule 4-262.  According to the rules, discovery must be completed before court.

Disclosure by the State’s Attorney in District Court

The State’s Attorney must provide to the defense all material or information that tends to exculpate, negate or mitigate the defendant’s guilt or punishment.  Additionally, the prosecution must provide anything that may impeach a State’s witness.

However, the State’s Attorney only has to provide the following if it is requested by the defendant:

  1. Statements of defendant and co-defendant
  2. Written statements, identity, and telephone numbers of state’s witnesses
  3. Searches, seizures, surveillance, and pretrial identification
  4. Reports or statements of experts
  5. Evidence for use at trial
  6. Property of the defendant

The State’s Attorney’s Office is under a continuing obligation to produce discovery to the defense.   Meaning, if the State obtains additional discovery, then the State must supplemental their response.  However, the State is not required to disclose their trial strategy, or other attorney work product.

Failure to Comply With District Court Discovery Obligation

The failure of the State to comply with a discovery obligation does not automatically disqualify a witness from testifying, or evidence from being permitted in trial.  The District Court judge may grant a delay or continuance to permit the defense to review the discovery.

Circuit Court Discovery

Discovery in Circuit Court is governed by Md. Rule 4-263.  According to the rules, discovery must be completed 30 days after the appearance of a criminal defense attorney or the first appearance of the defendant before the court.

Disclosure by the State’s Attorney in Circuit Court

The main difference between District Court and Circuit Court discovery is that without request, the State’s Attorney must provide to the defense:

  1. Statements
  2. Criminal Record
  3. State’s Witnesses
  4. Prior Conduct
  5. Exculpatory Information
  6. Impeachment Information
  7. Searches, Seizures, Surveillance, and Pretrial Identification
  8. Reports or Statements of Experts
  9. Evidence for Use at Trial
  10. Property of the Defendant

The State’s Attorney’s Office is under a continuing obligation to produce discovery to the defense.   Meaning, if the State obtains additional discovery, then the State must supplemental their response.  However, the State is not required to disclose their trial strategy, or other attorney work product.

Failure to Comply With Circuit Court Discovery Obligation

If at any time during the prosecution of a case the court finds that the State’s Attorney’s Office failed to comply with the discovery rules, then the court may sanction the State.  For example, the court may order the disclosure of discovery, strike testimony, grant a postponement, prohibit the State from introducing in evidence the discovery not disclosed, or grant a mistrial.

Schedule a free Maryland DUI Lawyer consultation

If you believe that the State’s Attorney’s Office has committed a discovery violation in your case, then contact the Law Office of Ross W. Albers to schedule a free consultation.

Maryland DUI Attorney Ross W. Albers offers a free consultation to explain and review your Maryland DUI arrest. During your free consultation, the Law Office of Ross W. Albers will review the facts, charges, MVA consequences and possible criminal penalties of your Maryland DUI case.

The Law Office of Ross W. Albers is a member of the National College for DUI Defense.  Maryland DWI Lawyer Ross W. Albers was selected by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in Criminal Defense: DUI.

Contact the Law Office of Ross W. Albers today to schedule a free consultation. Evening and weekend appointments are available.

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Discovery is the process through which defendants find out about the prosecution’s case. Did the prosecutor commit a discovery violation in your DUI case?Discovery is the process through which defendants find out about the prosecution’s case. Did the prosecutor commit a discovery violation in your DUI case?Discovery is the process through which defendants find out about the prosecution’s case. Did the prosecutor commit a discovery violation in your DUI case?Discovery is the process through which defendants find out about the prosecution’s case. Did the prosecutor commit a discovery violation in your DUI case?Discovery is the process through which defendants find out about the prosecution’s case. Did the prosecutor commit a discovery violation in your DUI case?

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