Bartlesville Lawyer BlogBartlesville Law: What is Discovery in Court Cases?

discovery

What is Discovery?

Hello, my name is Pete Knowles. I am a Bartlesville attorney. I want to talk to you about “discovery”. Your attorney may use the word discovery in either a criminal or civil case and you may not know what he’s talking about.

Discovery is essentially information or evidence gathering. It’s important to gather evidence and information, both on your own and from the other side, prior to a trial, prior to settlement, so that you know what the facts are, and what the evidence that would be presented to a judge or a jury would be.

Different Types of Discovery

There are different types of discovery, and those terms are not used commonly unless you’re an attorney.

Let’s talk about the different types:

  • Interrogatories — These are questions that are presented to the other side in writing, asking them to answer a question under oath. They’re generally used in civil cases.
  • Request for Production —  This is a request for documentation from the other side. It might be a request for financial records, bank statements, or communications, whether it be emails, letters, or things of that nature that the other party has. You want to review them and see how they would be relevant to your case.
  • Request for Admissions —  This is simply a statement of fact to the other side, that you’re asking them to admit or deny.

Before we wrap up, there are two other forms of discovery for you to be aware of.

Other Forms of Discovery

Subpoenas

Most people have heard the term “subpoena”. A subpoena can be a subpoena duces tecum, which is the phrase used when we’re talking about requesting (demanding, actually) documents from a third party. You could issue them to financial institutions, businesses, and other individuals, compelling them to provide you with certain records or documents they may have. You can also issue a subpoena for the attendance of a witness, to compel them to be at a hearing to ask them questions. That’s not really a discovery, but it is another form of a subpoena.

Lastly, let’s talk about depositions.

Depositions

Depositions are, it’s like court proceedings somewhat, out of court. It usually happens in an attorney’s office. The person is placed under oath. The parties are all present. They’re asked questions, which the questions or answers are transcribed by a court reporter, and you can lock people into their testimony before a trial.

The purpose of discovery has to do with our notice and right to be heard – the right of due process. You don’t have a trial by ambush – those are frowned upon. And so you want to conduct discovery – you want notice of what they’re claiming, and you want to know what evidence they have to support it. Conducting good discovery is important.

And now that you’ve heard these terms, you’ll know what your attorney is talking about.

Free Consultation with a Bartlesville Attorney

We hope this article helped you get a better understanding of the process of discovery and how it works. If you still have questions, Wirth Law Office – Bartlesville offers free consultations through telephone or email. To arrange a consultation with a Bartlesville lawyer, call us at (918) 213-0950 (or our toll-free number at 888-947-8452), or you can email us at firm@bartlesvilleattorney.com. Or, as a third option, you can simply fill out and submit the “Ask an Attorney” form at the top right of the page.

Whatever method you choose, one of our attorneys in Bartlesville will get in touch with you promptly. We look forward to hearing from you.

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