Will I Learn the Evidence Against Me in a Drug Charge Case?
If you’re facing criminal charges for a drug offense, you may be wondering exactly how much the prosecutor knows. Do they have an airtight case against you? Or is their evidence shaky enough that the judge could dismiss your case?
With the help of a drug case attorney, you can force the prosecution to reveal their hand so you’ll be better prepared to defend yourself at trial.
Can Prosecutors Reveal Surprise Evidence in a Trial?
You may have seen movies or TV dramas in which the prosecution reveals last-minute evidence that turns the tide of a trial. Although that makes for a compelling story, it’s not how things are supposed to go in a real-life drug case trial.
Years ago, prosecutors could refuse to show evidence, such as witness statements, to the defense. Defendants would only learn about the evidence against them at the trial, giving them and their attorney no time to build a winning defense strategy.
Today, though, you and your attorney have a right to request certain evidence from the prosecution. With a skilled drug case attorney by your side, you can go into your trial prepared.
Prosecutors Must Disclose Evidence in the Discovery Process
Your lawyer can request evidence by sending a Notice of Discovery to the prosecution. The prosecution then has 15 days to send a Discovery Exhibit to your attorney. You’re allowed to copy, test, review, and capture images of any evidence the prosecution sends.
One of the most important pieces of evidence the prosecutor must send is a list of witness names and statements. Witnesses may include:
- Alibi witnesses
- Investigating officers
The prosecution must also send notice of any objects or tangible papers that they intend to use in the trial. This evidence could include items that belonged to you, tests for illicit or prescription drugs, electronic surveillance records, and mental examination results.
Florida law says that the prosecutor must reveal evidence that could negate your guilt regardless of whether you reciprocate in the discovery process. Your drug case attorney can use this evidence to build a case on your behalf.
Prosecutors may refuse to furnish some information if they have good cause not to do so, however. Good cause means that:
- The evidence could harm other investigations
- The evidence might put witnesses or victims in danger
- The evidence could be lost or destroyed
Do Prosecutors Need to Reveal Their Legal Strategy?
According to the law, prosecutors must only provide raw evidence and do not need to reveal their intended legal strategy. This may seem unfair, but it’s important to know that your controlled substance case lawyer doesn’t have to reveal your defense strategy either.
The Discovery Process for the Defense
If your lawyer chooses to send a Notice of Discovery, you, as the defense, must participate in the discovery process too. Just as the prosecution had to do, your attorney will need to furnish a list of witnesses who they intend to call at trial.
Your drug case lawyer will also need to provide evidence that they plan to present at trial, including evidence that’s favorable to you.
Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney for Drug-Related Charges
Florida has harsh drug laws, and if a court convicts you, you could be facing hefty fines and possibly years of jail time. With the help of an experienced drug case attorney, you don’t need to deal with drug charges alone.
Florida criminal defense attorney Michael White, P.A. will handle every aspect of your drug case, including the discovery process, and fight aggressively on your behalf. Contact Michael at (954) 270-0769 for your free consultation today.