Most people who have been charged with a crime, generally realize they have the right to obtain the evidence against them and also the right to confront any witnesses against them. However, many who choose to represent themselves never even see the evidence against them because they do not understand the proper way to request the evidence and how to investigate and prepare their case. Anyone who is representing themselves in criminal charges should at a minimum obtain all the evidence on the case before ever agreeing to a plea bargain. This is the only way to know whether or not the evidence actually supports the charge with which you are being accused. The proper method for obtaining your evidence from the prosecutor is to file a Motion for Discovery. Rule 16 of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure states in part as follows with regard to the prosecutor’s duty in every case regarding discovery:
(a) Except as otherwise provided, the prosecutor shall disclose to the defense upon request the following material or information of which he has knowledge:
(1) relevant written or recorded statements of the defendant or codefendants;
(2) the criminal record of the defendant;
(3) physical evidence seized from the defendant or codefendant;
(4) evidence known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused, mitigate the guilt of the defendant, or mitigate the degree of the offense for reduced punishment; and
(5) any other item of evidence which the court determines on good cause shown should be made available to the defendant in order for the defendant to adequately prepare his defense.
As you can see from the above referenced rule, the prosecutor is basically required to provide you with a copy of any evidence they intend to introduce at trial. What is more is that under the same Rule 16 you are actually entitled to review the evidence before you are even required to plead.
St. George Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a crime in Southern Utah and have questions about the evidence in your case or discovery motions, you should call and speak with a St. George Criminal Defense Lawyer at our firm today. We can answer your questions and review your case. If you choose to hire us we will fight hard in your defense and help ensure your discovery rights and all other rights are protected in the process.