Discovery & Depositions in Criminal Cases
After pleading not guilty, you can choose to receive discovery, which is all the evidence and names of witnesses the State intends on using to convict him. The defense attorney will then examine the evidence and determine whether pretrial motions can be filed. Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney Mark Lowry is a former prosecutor and experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand your charges and determine the best way to fight them, including whether a motion is possible in your case. Contact the firm for a free consultation to discuss your case and ask questions today.
Common examples of pretrial motions are motions to dismiss; motions to suppress evidence (keep it out of Court), usually due to officers violating the arrestee’s constitutional rights), and for speedy trial. Florida law requires the State to bring a defendant to trial within 90 days of arrest or citation for a misdemeanor, and 175 days for a felony, unless a delay, like a continuance, is requested by the defendant. This is commonly called “natural speedy”, as the clock starts at arrest. If the defense took a continuance, but now is eager to bring the case to trial, they may file a motion for speedy trial, requiring the State to bring the case to trial within 60 days of the Court granting this motion.
After receiving discovery, and giving the State any evidence the defense intends to use (called reciprocal discovery), the criminal defense attorney Mark Lowry would then take depositions of most of the witnesses the State listed, depending on how much they were involved. If the crime charged is a misdemeanor, the Court must approve your request to take depo’s, which may or may not be granted depending on the necessity and charge. At depositions, the witness, prosecutor, defense attorney, and court reporter (called stenographer) are present. The defendant is never present at criminal depositions. The witness is placed under oath, and the defense attorney and prosecutor ask the witness questions regarding his or her involvement in the case and what he or she would testify to if the matter went to trial. The State as well can depose any defense witnesses in the same manner. Often times the defense attorney will file any pretrial motions after depositions are complete, as now the attorney is better armed with sworn testimony versus a mere report.
During this pretrial period the Court will have calendar calls or status conferences to help monitor the case and keep the parties preparing for trial. Calendar calls are typically held late in the week to determine whether the parties can go to trial in the following weeks, and if so, to schedule the trial on the Court’s calendar.
If you or someone you love has been cited or arrested for anything, contact criminal attorney Mark Lowry immediately to help understand the criminal process and how to fight your charges. We offer affordable payment plans and 24 hour service 7 days a week.