Criminal charges in Virginia should be taken seriously, as a conviction has the potential to drastically change the trajectory of the accused’s life. Given the gravity of the situation, the federal court system requires that each party disclose all relevant facts and evidence to one another, in an effort to prevent surprises during the trial. Discovery is the process through which this disclosure is achieved.
Requests for admission/written discovery
Interrogatories can be generic, in a preprinted form or created specifically for the case in question. These questions require someone to write out their version of the facts. While they are not often used, they can be a powerful tool since each side has the ability to ask either broad or specific questions and false information can be penalized.
The purpose of having people make sworn statements while answering questions from an attorney is to see what the other party has to say and what type of case they are presenting. It can be considered a mock trial while at the same time locking people into the statements they are making. Transcripts are made of the depositions as well.
Each party has the right to see documents that are even remotely connected to the case. Courts even allow computer files to be discoverable and even deleted files can be reconstructed, if the need be. Document production can be tedious, as the amount of paperwork can be voluminous.
Discovery is usually an intrusive and frustrating process that can delay a trial. It can also be confusing for someone involved in the criminal legal system for the first time. It might help to have an experienced attorney by one’s side presenting an aggressive criminal defense to protect one’s best interests.