If the state of Texas or the federal government brings criminal charges against you, that usually means the prosecutor thinks they have enough evidence to convict you. Even those who loudly attest their innocence may feel frightened in the face of evidence connecting them to criminal activity.
Despite what murder mystery television shows would have you believe, there are very few pieces of evidence that are absolute and irrefutable. There is some degree of interpretation to most forms of evidence, which means that there is almost always a way to defend yourself.
The discovery process is crucial for those trying to base their defense strategy on the evidence the state has against them.
What is discovery?
Your right to a fair trial includes the right to know about the evidence against you before you go to court. Prosecutors have to carefully gather evidence to build their case. This process usually includes interviewing potential witnesses and bringing in experts to analyze physical or chemical evidence.
Once the prosecutor has built their case, they have to provide detailed information about the evidence they have to the defense. In situations where the prosecutor suddenly finds new evidence, it could trigger a mistrial or a delay for a trial already underway because the defendant and their attorney must have time to analyze and respond to that new evidence.
How discovery helps you
Having the right to review the evidence against you gives you a means to prove your innocence by countering the state’s case point-by-point. Receiving the discovery disclosures from the prosecutor is often when defense planning kicks into high gear.
Your attorney can then review the evidence and identify possible weak points in the prosecutor’s case. If all they have is eyewitness testimony, you could bring in experts to talk about how unreliable eyewitnesses are. If the only physical evidence connecting you to the crime was obtained after a questionable search of your property without permission, then you might challenge the search to exclude the evidence from court.
Your right to review the evidence, gather evidence of your own and bring in experts to interpret the evidence can play a crucial role in your criminal defense strategy. Learning more about your basic right when you face criminal charges will help you better handle court proceedings.