This whole concept of a Brady motion has to do with the prosecutors and the police turning over evidence that is both inculpatory and exculpatory. Meaning, the prosecutors and police have the duty to turn over evidence they’re going to use to try to prosecute a defendant in a DUI case, and also evidence that might help a DUI defendant in a case in Los Angeles County. So, what we’re seeing when we’re talking about Brady motions and Brady violations is defense attorneys in DUI cases saying, hey look – we know you have this evidence. We need it. In other words, how about a dashcam on the police vehicle. You’re saying my client was driving/speeding, making driving violations – okay, let’s see it. Let’s see the dashcam. So, if they weren’t giving the video – assuming a video exists in the particular police vehicle – most of them exist in a CHP vehicle, but not necessarily in a LAPD vehicle – or even a bodycam video that might exist showing the person talking, walking, performing a field sobriety test. Of course, it would be a Brady violation if they have that information – they have those videos that the defendant can use to defend themselves and the don’t turn that information over to the defense. So, that’s where you’re going to see Brady violations – when things are not turned over to the defense so the defense can properly defend a particular DUI case.
So, if you have a situation where your attorney is trying to fight a case and you need to file a Brady motion, you basically file the motion with the prosecutors and then the prosecutors are going to tell the judge whether they’ve got the information or not. The key thing is, they must turn over any exculpatory or inculpatory information they have related to a DUI case. If they don’t, then they can be subject to not being able to use that evidence against a defendant. The judge can order them to turn over the information – and if it’s good information for the defense – and they’re not turning the information over – then a judge can even order the case dismissed. I do motions all the time. I say Your Honor, I’ve informally asked for this information related to the DUI case that’s going to help my client in his or her defense and they’re not turning it over.
Prosecutors can’t hide behind the police. They can’t say well, the police aren’t giving it to me, because the police are an arm or a branch of the prosecutorial system, and if the police don’t turn it over and we know it exists then it doesn’t matter. They’re going to be ordered to turn it over and if they don’t the case can be dismissed. So, these Brady violations have to do with the defense being able to show that there’s evidence that the prosecutor or police have that’s not being turned over to the defense.
Now of course, a judge is going to say tell me what evidence it is. How do you know that they have it? Where is it? If you get the judge involved and file a formal discovery motion and say judge, I’ve asked them for it and they didn’t give it to me, so now I’m filing a motion with you and I’m asking you to order them to give me this Brady information – this information that can help my client. If the judge orders them to do it and they don’t do it, the judge has the power and authority to dismiss the case. So, these Brady motions have to do with getting information that the prosecutors or police have, typically, that helps the defendant. But even information they’re saying they have that they’re going to use at a trial that they haven’t turned over – you can say, that’s a Brady violation. I need to evaluate this information that they supposedly have related to my DUI arrest so that I can defend myself. Maybe I want to do my own investigation. Maybe I want to get my own expert to be able to challenge this evidence that they have. They need to turn it over to me. I need to be able to access it.
Don’t confuse this Brady violation with the police giving you all the information that might exist out there in the universe. It’s only information that they have and they have control over and the defense can’t get. If the defense can go out through their own investigation and get information then it wouldn’t be a Brady violation. Go out and get it defense. Don’t blame it on the prosecutors and the police, It’s only evidence that they control that they’re not turning over. For example, let’s say in addition to bodycams and other police-equipped videos they have some other evidence. Say they impounded a car related to a DUI accident and they’re not giving the defense access to view the car to see what damage it has. That can be another example of a Brady violation.
So, whatever evidence they have that they’re not letting the defense see, the defense needs to fight back. File a motion with the court. Say it’s a Brady violation and get the judge to issue an order so the defense can look at everything, conduct a proper investigation in a DUI case in Los Angeles and either get the case dismissed or get lesser charges, but be in a position to look at all the evidence. That’s what the defense has to do in a DUI case, and if the police and prosecutors are interfering with that defense investigation, it’s up to the DUI defense attorney to file the motion in the LA court where the case is pending and get the evidence that needs to be evaluated in order to properly defend the case.
So, if you have a DUI in California, and specifically, Los Angeles, you’re going to want to get an attorney who has been down this road before and had success. Contact our Los Angeles DUI lawyers to review your case.