Norton, VA asked in Criminal Law for Virginia

Q: Do I have a right to view my motion of discovery (audio, video) before I agree to any plea?

I have read the motion. Most of it states the conversation is inaudible

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1 Lawyer Answer
David G. Parker
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Richmond, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: There is no statutory or constitutional right to a plea offer from the prosecutor. If the prosecutor has extended an offer with a particular deadline attached to it, you may be out of luck. However, the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia do specify that you are entitled (for felony trials) to inspect and review "written or recorded statements or confessions, or the substance of any oral statements or confessions, made by the accused to any law enforcement officer..."

For misdemeanors, you also have a right to review "any relevant written or recorded statements or confessions made by the accused, or copies thereof and the substance of any oral statements and confessions made by the accused to any law enforcement officer." So certainly, before tendering any sort of a plea in court, you are entitled to discovery as specified in the Rules. If you feel that the prosecutor's response is not sufficient, that issue will need to be raised with the judge (if the prosecutor will not disclose what you think the Rules entitle you to).

It sounds like they are offering you the substance of the recording rather than the recording itself. While you might have some luck filing a motion with the court seeking a review of the recording itself, that will not necessarily change any deadlines or conditions attached to any plea offer made by the prosecutor. This is where you or your attorney (if you have one) may be able to negotiate with the Commonwealth's Attorney so that any offers are kept open while you review the evidence.

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