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Why discovery motions are important in a DUI case.

Why discovery motions are important in a DUI case.

When you are charged with DUI in South Carolina the prosecutor does not have any automatic obligation to turn over all the materials collected by the police as part of the case. These materials will include for most DUI cases at a minimum:

  • Roadside video recording
  • Body-cam video recording
  • Narrative incident report
  • Scoring Sheet from any Field Sobriety Test

There can be other materials collected too, depending on the case. These can be:

  • 911 call recordings
  • Chain of custody and testing records for urine or blood samples
  • Written witness statements
  • Photographs
  • Accident Investigation Reports

A critical part of preparing a defense for any DUI is to be able to obtain these reports prior to going to court. This can be the only way to verify if the police officer conducted the DUI investigation and made the arrest in a way that would comply with South Carolina’s mandatory arrest procedures. Basically, unless you request and review all available materials you can never know if there are circumstances that could result in a total dismissal of the case. The initial court date written on a DUI ticket or assigned in Bond Court will not provide enough time to request, receive, or evaluate discovery materials.

Our System for Obtaining Discovery

To avoid anything being overlooked we employ a standardized system to obtain discovery materials as soon as we are retained on a DUI case. This system works in every type of DUI case in South Carolina.

  • Legal paperwork notifying the court and prosecution that we are challenging the DUI is prepared by our office and signed by an attorney.
  • Additional paperwork notifying the court and prosecution of our demand for pre-trial discovery is also prepared by our office and signed by an attorney.
  • Copies of all documents are filed with the court and served on the prosecutor. Most of the time we prefer to have an employee hand-carry these papers to the court. This will ensure that they are timely received.
  • As soon as these are filed with the court the initial court date will be automatically cancelled.
  • Copies of the paperwork with the court filing stamp are returned to our office. There they are sent to our client (usually by email) so that they know this part of the process has been completed.

We typically try to complete these initial steps immediately after being retained, often on the same-day.

The next step is when our office receives the initial discovery responses. These normally come on multiple computer discs. This usually takes several weeks to come in (sometimes longer depending on the prosecutor involved).

Once we receive the materials our office will make a full and complete copy to send to our client. Next, we have them carefully reviewed by at least two attorneys (to  try to help make sure nothing was missed). This review will be to verify whether or not the police conducted the investigation, as well as to tell us what other evidence exists both for and against the DUI accusation.

Contact Our Attorney’s Today

We are able to defend clients charged with any level of DUI anywhere in South Carolina. Our attorneys are all members of the National College for DUI Defense, and have undergone specific training based on NHTSA curriculum in DUI Detection and Field Sobriety Testing. Additionally lawyer Chris Lusk is a former DUI prosecutor for the 11th Judicial Circuit, and James Snell literally wrote the book in South Carolina on DUI Defense (South Carolina DUI Defense, The Law and Practice). To schedule your appointment contact us at (888) 301-3532. Initial appointments are offered without cost or obligation.


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