Discovery Process of an Annapolis DUI
The discovery process is where a defense attorney makes a request to the prosecutor to turn over all information that they have associated with the case. In a DUI case, this usually includes the citations that an officer might have issued to a person as a result of their DUI arrest, along with additional information that the officer may have prepared, such as handwritten notes, the incident report, and video surveillance from a cruiser camera or body camera. Video footage is becoming increasingly available during the course of DUI stops.
Further, an Annapolis DUI lawyer will also request calibration paperwork for radar detectors, breathalyzer machines, and anything else available that might be required for the state to prove the criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
How Annapolis Handles the Discovery Process
Annapolis handles the discovery process similarly to other courts in Maryland. A defense attorney usually simultaneously files a notice of appearance with the prosecution and a request for discovery.
Usually, this comes in the form of an omnibus motion, which is a request to the prosecutor to turn over any information that is potentially case material. This includes inculpatory evidence, which is evidence that tends to prove the state’s case, as well as exculpatory evidence, which is evidence that might have a negative impact on the state’s case. The prosecution is required to supply both types of information to the defense.
A motion hearing is where defense lawyers argue to the court that specific information that the state intends to produce at trial is inappropriate to include at trial. Since DUIs are misdemeanors and are usually adjudicated in bench trials, judges will hear motions during the course of a trial.
The process is a little different when there is a jury trial and there are more serious allegations being brought against the defendant. In those situations, a separate motions hearing will usually be scheduled with the judge, outside the presence of the jury, to make determinations about whether certain pieces of evidence are admissible against the accused.
How a Motion Hearing Applies to a DUI Case
There would be a motion hearing in an Annapolis DUI case if the defense attorney was trying to exclude evidence, such as breathalyzer test results or speeding results. This might be relevant in circumstances where a prosecutor is trying to allege that the police stopped the defendant for a traffic violation, but the basis that the officer has alleged was not a proper basis or could not be independently verified.
In those circumstances, a motion might be filed to try and have the case dismissed based on a finding that the stop was unlawful so anything the police became aware of after the stop cannot be considered.
Motion to Suppress
A motion to suppress is made by the defense attorney to keep evidence from being introduced to the finder of fact, whether that is a judge or a jury. In a DUI case, a very common piece of evidence that a defense attorney might try and suppress is a breathalyzer test result, which is usually the most damaging piece of evidence to a defense.
If the breathalyzer test result was taken in violation of a client’s Fourth Amendment right, that might be a reason to ask the court to suppress it. If a person was not properly advised of their rights surrounding a breathalyzer test before taking it, that might be another reason to ask the court to suppress the breathalyzer test. There are many circumstances in which a motion to suppress might be filed in a DUI-related case, and an experienced Annapolis DUI lawyer will work with clients to discover if their case allows for a motion to suppress.