Navigating Discovery in Oklahoma’s Preliminary Hearings
This is Oklahoma lawyer James Wirth. If you’re facing a criminal charge, you’re probably wondering what discovery is available for you ahead of time during the preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is the first major hurdle for a prosecution, where the prosecutor must show that there is probable cause a crime was committed and the defendant committed it.
According to Title 22, Section 258 of the Oklahoma statutes, the state is not required to provide anything to the defendant ahead of a preliminary hearing. However, the district attorney may choose to make law enforcement reports available prior to the hearing to avoid surprises and ambushes during the trial.
What Happens if the State Does Not Provide the Materials?
If the district attorney fails to provide the discovery of all the police reports at least five days prior to the preliminary hearing, the judge cannot terminate the hearing early. This means that the defendant can continue asking questions, and the hearing becomes a discovery hearing for the defendant.
It is common for the state to provide some discovery to try to cut off the preliminary hearing as soon as probable cause is established. This is done to deprive the defendant of using the preliminary hearing as a discovery hearing.
Get Legal Help with Your Criminal Case
If you’re dealing with a criminal case, you should talk to an attorney about the procedural issues related to your case. At Wirth Law Office, we offer private and confidential consultations to help you understand your rights and options. To schedule a free consultation with a Tulsa criminal law attorney at our office, call us at (918) 879-1681 or visit us online at makelaweasy.com.