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Brady Motion & DUI Cases

One of the initial phases of the DUI legal process is known as “discovery,” which is when your attorney requests evidence and information related to your case from the prosecution. Prosecutors are obligated to turn over the requested documents so that you can use it in developing a defense for your case. This process occurs prior to trial and even before the preliminary hearing, in some cases.

Unfortunately, there have been many instances where prosecutors—and law enforcement—withhold specific items that often would exonerate you or make your defense appear strong. However, this type of behavior is illegal.

If you believe the prosecution is withholding evidence and information related to your case, you have the right to file a motion with the court known as a “Brady motion.” In some cases, a Brady motion could result in the dismissal of your case.

What is a Brady Motion?

Brady v. Maryland was a Supreme Court case that involved an alleged murderer, John Leo Brady. Brady had been convicted of murder along with an accomplice, Donald Boblit. From the start of the case, Brad had maintained his innocence.

However, a confession from Boblit supported Brady’s claim. Boblit wrote that he had killed the victim on his own power. The prosecutors had possessed this document and knew it could clear Brady’s name. Unfortunately, they did not turn it over during the discovery process.

The Supreme Court ruled that this violated Brady’s constitutional right to due process. Nowadays, any such withholding of evidence or information is known as a Brady violation.

How Does a Brady Motion Apply to Your Case?

A Brady violation is much more than a simple mistake. It is taken quite seriously because (1) it demonstrates an effort—perhaps deliberate—from the prosecution to deprive you of a fair trial and (2) it demonstrates that the prosecution is biased against you and hopes to convict you despite the evidence stating otherwise.

The DUI process begins with an informal request, asking the prosecution to hand over various forms of information, such as:

  • All the evidence which the prosecution plans to use against you
  • A list of certain documents or pieces of evidence requested by your attorney
  • A more general list of types of evidence, including witness statements

As soon as this information is requested, it is mandatory for the prosecution to fulfill the request. If the prosecution fails to give you the information or pieces of evidence within a minimum of 30 days before your trial, your attorney can start a discovery motion, which asks the judge to enforce the discovery demand. If your attorney discovers that any information was withheld, he or she can file a Brady motion.

Arrested for a DUI in Ventura County, CA? Contact The Law Offices of Robert F. Sommers and request a free consultation with our Ventura DUI lawyer today.