Police officers and investigators may spend months gathering evidence before they charge you with a crime. The goal is to have enough evidence to convince a jury to convict you, which means they need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you broke the law.
If you want to assert your innocence and intend to defend yourself, you need to plan a defense strategy with an attorney familiar with the kinds of charges you face. Your right to discovery will likely influence how you defend yourself.
What is discovery?
Discovery is the term for the mandatory disclosure to the defendant of the evidence gathered by the state. You have a right to information about what witnesses the state will call and what physical, chemical or financial evidence they have collected or which experts will explain it.
You and your attorney can then discuss ways that you can counter or challenge that evidence in court. Your right to discovery is so important that if the prosecutor finds new evidence or wants to bring in a witness that you did not know about before the beginning of the trial, you may be able to either ask for time to prepare a response or potentially request a mistrial so that you can use a completely different defensive strategy against this new evidence.
It can be difficult to make sense of the evidence against you or how the state will use that evidence when you have never been through a criminal trial before. Having the right support when you plan your defense strategy when you face major felony charges could be the difference between exonerating yourself and getting convicted.