What Is Disclosure & Discovery In A Criminal Traffic Case?


Traffic tickets can hold a sense of dread for many drivers. While the possibility of jail time is extremely slim, the costs related to traffic tickets are not. If you’re heading to court for a criminal traffic violation, you will likely hear your case referred to as a “disclosure” or a “discovery.” But what are these terms? How do they differ, and how do they play into your future?

In this blog post, a Phoenix DUI Lawyer will discuss the meaning of disclosure and discovery as well as their importance in a criminal traffic case.

Criminal Traffic Case  in Arizona

What Is Disclosure?

Both the State (the prosecutor) and the defendant must make disclosures during a criminal case. They must share any piece of evidence or witnesses that they intend to use in the case. 

For example, the State must offer anything that could be used against the defendant during the trial. However, the State must also disclose anything that may tend to show the defendant’s innocence. 

The State must also reveal any witnesses who may testify at trial. The State’s witnesses in most criminal traffic cases are limited to the citing officer.

The defendant must disclose anything that could be used in his defense. The defendant must also reveal any expert witnesses he intends to call in his defense.

Disclosure allows the prosecution to determine whether the witness has any meaningful previous convictions, and it also allows the police to interview defense witnesses.

For example, in serious road traffic cases where the injured party has limited information, the lawyer can obtain pertinent information about their condition, allowing the insurance company to consider an early offer of rehabilitation to maximize recovery.

Your Mesa DUI Lawyer will always ensure that any traffic case is conducted by the current law and that the accused is properly advised as to how to respond. Besides, a traffic case is an excellent opportunity to get disclosure benefitting the client.

What is Discovery?

Discovery is the process that occurs when the parties (the State and the defendant) look for information that must be disclosed. The State usually does little, if any, discovery in a criminal traffic case, other than making a generic proposal to the defendant to provide the minimum disclosures required by the rules.

However, discovery is crucial for the defendant. The State frequently fails to make required disclosures. Even though the State is required to make disclosures, it is frequently the defendant’s (or her attorney’s) burden to identify items to be disclosed and then entice the State to make those disclosures. 

The citing officer’s interview is an essential part of the discovery phase. Interviewing the officer is a good way to spot any potential issues with the State’s case. 

For example, during an interview with an officer, we frequently notice the existence of video evidence. If we hadn’t done that interview, the State might not have revealed the video evidence.

A reputable Gilbert DUI Lawyer will do their best to make your defense successful with proper discovery. 

Discovery allows defense counsel to get a first look at the case that will be displayed against the defendant. It also allows the defense counsel to request an independent review of the evidence to counter the prosecution’s case.

How Disclosure & Discovery Work

Each party has the chance to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the other party’s case. Some information must be disclosed to the other parties, which means that the party in possession of that information must provide it to the others without being asked. Other information must be discovered, which means that the party with that information must provide it if requested.

A party must essentially disclose to the other parties the information, documents, and witnesses that endorse the party’s claims and defenses. The term “discovery” describes the processes by which each party learns about the facts, paperwork, and witnesses that the other party is not required to reveal.

When Do They Take Place?

The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure regulate when discovery and disclosure must happen. The State is not obligated to make its minimum disclosures in misdemeanor traffic cases until the first preliminary hearing conference. 

With a Tucson DUI Lawyer, you can get better guidance about disclosure and discovery and when they’re needed.

Notice that discovery and disclosure typically take place over time as the plaintiff sees what evidence may exist and then attempts to compel the State to disclose that information.

A Mesa DUI Lawyer Near You

While traffic cases can create a lot of pressure, they can be less challenging if handled properly. The best way to do that is with the right lawyer.

My AZ Lawyers are here to help you out with your traffic case so you can get peace of mind. Contact us now to obtain a no-obligation consultation. 


Contact Professional Family Attorneys In Arizona

Arizona Offices:

Mesa Location:
1731 West Baseline Rd., Suite #100
Mesa, AZ 85202

Office: (480) 448-9800
Email: info@myazlawyers.com
Website: https://myazlawyers.com/

Phoenix Location:
343 West Roosevelt, Suite #100
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Office: (602) 609-7000

Glendale Location:
20325 N 51st Avenue Suite #134, Building 5
Glendale, AZ 85308

Office: (602) 509-0955

Tucson Location:
2 East Congress St., Suite #900-6A
Tucson, AZ 85701

Office: (520) 441-1450

Avondale Location:
12725 W. Indian School Rd., Ste E, #101
Avondale, AZ 85392

Office: (623) 469-6603

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