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When Will I Get To See the Government’s Evidence Against Me in a Federal Criminal Case

July 9, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

Evidence Against You is Revealed At Discovery

When you are up against federal charges, you will probably get the right to see the government’s evidence at some stage.  Work with your attorney to use this preview to your advantage as you construct your defense. The discovery stage is mandated by federal regulations.  It provides that both parties in a case must disclose certain critical evidence to each other.  In the event that your case proceeds to this point, you and your attorney will likely gain a much clearer picture of the case against you. Being aware of when you can get this information, knowing how to use discovery of evidence to your advantage, and knowing what steps to take throughout the process could drastically change the results you achieve in your case.  Because of this, your lawyer’s level of knowledge and experience in this area will be critical.  

Your experienced federal attorney can advise you on when discovery will be possible, what evidence would be disclosed, and how to deal with any misconduct during discovery. 

Evidence During a Federal Investigation

When you find yourself under investigation by a federal agency in conjunction with the United States Attorney, your attorney might be able to negotiate early access to certain evidence. This is particularly true if you are working out a plea bargain.  Nevertheless, the prosecutor has full authority to limit the evidence you see, so it may not be too helpful. Your attorney can advise you with respect to the steps you can take and what you can do to defend yourself.

Discovery Stage of a Federal Case

Once you have been charged with a criminal offense, your right to disclosure of evidence changes. Evidence that will need to be disclosed by both sides includes: 

  • Oral and written statements, 
  • recorded statements, 
  • grand jury testimony, 
  • documents and photographs, 
  • information from examinations, and 
  • the names of expert witnesses along with a summary of their testimony. 

In addition, any evidence that favors your side of the case will have to be disclosed. Items that are classified as attorney work product and witness statements are exempt from disclosure during discovery.

If the U.S. attorney fails to comply with discovery rules and refuses to disclose relevant information, you can approach the court to order the attorney to disclose that information.  The court can also grant you more time for review, or you can ask to prevent some evidence from being used.

It is important that you deal with a lawyer who understands how the federal discovery process functions, and who knows how to employ the government’s evidence to construct your defense. From the moment that you suspect you are under investigation or if you are looking at criminal charges already, get in touch with licensed federal attorneys now so he or she can begin helping you develop your defense.

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