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How Discovery Can Lead to a Dismissal in a Delaware Criminal Case

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Before proceeding to trial in a criminal case, the prosecution and defense may engage in an exchange of information known as discovery, which is governed by Rule 16 of the Delaware Rules of Criminal Procedure. The point is to assess the facts and evidence that may be introduced at trial, and to ensure fairness in the criminal process. In addition, various forms of discovery can uncover information that could favor your case, provide a defense, or even act as grounds to dismiss the charges against you.

You will not be required to know the details, since your Delaware criminal defense attorney will handle the specifics. However, an overview about discovery and what you can do with the information may be helpful. 

Types of Discovery in a Criminal Case: Some forms of discovery involve the exchange of documents and other tangible items, or copies and other representations of them. Two of the most commonly used tools for discovery include: 

  • Requests for Documents: Both the prosecutor and your defense attorney must respond to a request for documents by making them available for copying and inspection. However, you will not be required to provide information that is privileged due to the attorney-client relationship.
  • Written Interrogatories: This type of discovery involves written questions that a party must answer. Your lawyer can obtain a wealth of information regarding the state’s version of the facts that allegedly prove that you committed a crime.

Another discovery tool involves an in-person interview session known as a deposition. You will not be deposed because you cannot be forced to testify against yourself in a criminal matter, but you may want to depose other individuals. Examples include witnesses that the prosecutor intends to call at trial and anyone who has information that could provide favorable information on your case. 

Motions Based Upon Discovery Disclosures: Depending on the details uncovered by the discovery process, your lawyer may have grounds to file motions that give you an edge – or could result in a dismissal of the charges. 

  • Motion to Compel: If the prosecutor does not provide information subject to a qualifying discovery request, you may force disclosure by motion. A grant of your request could give you access to details that clear you of criminal activity.
  • Motion to Suppress: At times, the prosecution may have information that is inadmissible and should be tossed out of court.
  • Motion to Dismiss: Based upon the results of a motion to compel or suppress, or other discovery issues, your attorney may have grounds to have the charges dismissed. When the prosecutor cannot present evidence that is inadmissible or must provide exculpatory information, a court may drop the charges.

Count on a Delaware Criminal Defense Lawyer to Handle Discovery 

From this summary about discovery and motion practice, you can see that it is important to retain experienced legal counsel for assistance with your case. To learn more about the rules and the role discovery may play in your Delaware criminal case, please contact Wilmington criminal attorney Michael W. Modica. You can schedule a consultation at our Wilmington, DE office by calling 302.600.1262 or going online.

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