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How to Get the Evidence in Your Criminal Case—and What to Do With It

Over the years, I’ve realized there are two kinds of people who get charged with crimes: those who think they know why they got charged, and those who have no idea.

Whichever category you fall under, it’s imperative to get the evidence the State has in your case. The State can’t convict you without proof beyond a reasonable doubt. You don’t have to prove anything. Getting the evidence helps you assess the State’s chance of convicting you.

Without it, you’re just laying down, taking the State’s word that you should be branded a convict and thrown in prison.

Here’s how you start fighting back to save your freedom and reputation.

Getting the Evidence in Your Case

In South Carolina, all suspects have the right to the evidence gathered by the State that shows they committed the crime. But you also have the right to evidence that helps you. That means if the State gets a statement from a witness reporting the armed robber looked nothing like you, the State must turn it over to you. This is a powerful right that can make all the difference in your case’s outcome.

So how do you get it? You file a motion for discovery under the South Carolina Rules of Criminal Procedure 5 and Brady v. Maryland. Brady is a 1963 United States Supreme Court case that established an important rule: suspects have the right to evidence that helps their cases.

“Discovery” is the best way to describe the evidence, as it helps you discover your defenses and case strategy.

Because your case is all about evidence, get it the right way—hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Skilled attorneys know what evidence to expect and can make sure you get it all. Too much is at stake to risk a surprise at trial or to miss out on evidence that can help you. A determined criminal defense attorney can hold the State’s feet to the fire to get you all the evidence you’re entitled to.

So You’ve Got the Evidence—Now What Do You Do With It?

When in skilled hands, discovery can reveal legal defenses you didn’t know you had- even if you're guilty- like constitutional rights violations that can get your case dismissed.

The evidence can also reveal holes in the State’s case, like witnesses who make contradictory statements or drug tests that don’t prove the drug amount required for your charge.

And even if you have no defense, the evidence can bring out facts to show what you did wasn’t that bad, justifying a charge reduction that can save you from prison in a plea deal.

But the key is, you need a trained professional who knows how to:

  1. Request discovery. Some types of cases—like those involving DUI, sex abuse, or drug dogs—require specific requests.
  2. Make sure you get all the evidence.
  3. Properly analyze it for all defenses, especially the legal technicalities.
  4. Use it to help your case.

That’s where we come in. Call 888-230-1841 to schedule a free strategy session. We’ll make it as easy as possible, as shown by this brief video.  

 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.