Getting Police Evidence to Fight Tickets ("Discovery")

In any fight, it is best to know your opponent's strategy. Fortunately, you often have the legal right to do this (called "discovery"). In many states you have the right to demand access to the officer's notes made at the time or soon after your ticket was issued. You also have the right to demand access to other information, like instruction manuals on the use of equipment that was used to clock your speed. (See Fight Your Speeding Ticket: What is the Law? and Fight Your Speeding Ticket: Determining Your Speed for information on what types of equipment are used to catch speeders. You must check with your local court clerk to confirm you have the right to demand discovery in your state.) This information can be a huge help when cross-examining the officer and presenting your own case at trial.

To discover the officer's notes, you must make a specific written request for the disclosure of all notes or documents relevant to your case. If you have an arraignment, you may be able to do this there. But if, as is far more common, you plead not guilty and post bail without an arraignment, you'll need to make your request promptly by mail. Send your discovery request to both the police agency that ticketed you and to the local prosecuting agency. The request should be printed or typed on 8

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