If you are being charged with a crime when can you ask to see the evidence against you?

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If you are being charged with a crime when can you ask to see the evidence against you?

Before you make a plea or before you go to court? When do they have to show you the evidence?

Asked on September 5, 2012 under Criminal Law, Utah

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Even though several federal and state cases say that a defendant has no general right to discovery, each defendant does have a limited right to discovery and review the evidence against them before deciding whether or not they should enter a plea.  Several states have also enacted statutes to spell out what and when the State is required to produce discovery.  In Utah, the discovery statute provides that the prosecutor is supposed to provide it as soon as practical after a request.  It does not set out a specific timeline (like within 30 days), but instead specifies that it will do so before a defendant is required to plea.  If you are not represented, you can make a request for discovery, but it's best to do so in writing with a copy filed with the court.  It's always best to review the evidence against you so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not to enter a plea of guilty.


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