The DUI File
In any criminal case involving a DUI offense, there will be typically be two different files; the prosecutor’s file and the file belonging to defense counsel. Under the rules of discovery, the police and prosecutor must provide all relevant evidence to the defense upon request, including exculpatory evidence, that may be in possession of the police. The defense is not subject to the same obligations, however the defense must comply with the discovery rules set forth by law. For this reason, the prosecution and defense file on a DUI case will often be very similar.The Initial Discovery Packet
At the defendant’s arraignment for a DUI offense, the prosecution will typically only provide a copy of the criminal complaint filed with the court as well as a the incident reports prepared by the arresting officer. There may also be a copy of the breath test or blood test results. In some cases, the defendant’s blood test results may not be available by the arraignment date and may be provided at a later date.Getting Additional Discovery
While the prosecution has an obligation to turn over relevant discovery material, the defense must ask for additional discovery from the prosecutor. The defense will typically prepare and submit an informal discovery request specifically requesting certain items. This includes dash cam video camera evidence, body worn camera footage, radio and dispatch audio recordings, surveillance video, 911 calls and any other relevant evidence that may assist in defending the case.
If the prosecution fails to comply with the defense’s informal discovery request, the defense can file a formal discovery motion with the Court. The Court would determine whether or not the evidence requested exists and whether or not the defense is entitled to it. The Court may order the prosecution to turn over missing evidence and may impose sanctions for failure to comply with discovery orders.Subpoenaed Evidence
Both the prosecution and defense can serve subpoenas to obtain additional relevant records. In many cases, medical records will be subpoenaed to show a victim’s injuries or medical condition or cell phone records may be subpoenaed to show a defendant’s or witness’s location or phone usage. The subpoenaed records would be sent to the Court and the requesting party would be given an opportunity to copy the records and provide a copy of the material to opposing counsel, where required by law.Reviewing the Defense File
A defendant may want to review his or her case file during the pendency of the charges or once the case has been resolved. The defense file may also contain material relating to the DMV administrative hearing that is separate from the court case and is sent from the DMV as discovery material.
There may be circumstances where a defendant is not given complete access to his or her case file. If there was a victim involved or civilian witnesses named in the police report, the defendant’s attorney must redact all personal identifying information from these individuals before they can be provided to the defendant. This is required by law. Most attorneys keep a client’s file for a period of five years before it is destroyed. The prosecution and court file is also destroyed after a certain period of time.
If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI offense, it is crucial that you meet with an experienced DUI attorney right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut fights hard on behalf of his clients charged with DUI offenses. Mr. Kraut is highly regarded throughout the court system for his skills as a litigator and knowledge of the law.
For more information about the DUI file, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.