Everything You Need to Know – Missouri Discovery Rules for Criminal Cases

A cartoon depiction of a man reading about Missouri discovery rules for criminal cases.

Are you facing criminal charges in Missouri? If so, understanding the Missouri discovery rules for criminal cases is essential to the success of your case. 

Our Cole County criminal defense attorneys are here to help you understand Missouri discovery rules and how they apply to your case. 

Failure to understand your rights and responsibilities during the discovery phase is a disadvantage. The Cole County prosecuting attorney will not take it easy on you because you’re unaware of your options. 

That’s why it’s in your best interest to 

  1. Contact an experienced Cole County criminal defense lawyer and,
  1. Know what to expect when your case moves through the courts.

Contact Kirsch & Kirsch today at 573-222-0826 for your free initial consultation. Learn more about Missouri discovery rules for criminal defense cases below. 

What is Discovery

Discovery is one of the first steps in the Missouri criminal defense process. It’s essentially the official process of information (evidence) exchange between the prosecution and the defense. 

Discovery allows defendants to prepare a response for the evidence the prosecution has against them. There are many methods of discovery. They include, but are not limited to: 

  • Reports and other witness statements: Almost every case will have police reports and other witness statements, either written or recorded. 
  • Depositions: A deposition is a statement made outside of court and given under oath. The statement can be written or videotaped. In some cases, both methods are used.
  • Subpoenas: Sometimes, the prosecution requests a subpoena for certain documents, records, or testimony from an individual. The defense has the right to do the same.
  • Physical Examination: The prosecution can request the defendant to take a physical examination (depending on the circumstances of the case). The defense is allowed to physically examine certain evidence and places.

Continue reading to learn more about current Missouri discovery rules. 

Missouri Criminal Discovery Rules

The criminal discovery rules in Missouri encompass the procedures, rules, and limitations of discovery in criminal defense cases. 

Listed below is a brief overview of the criminal discovery laws in Missouri. 

If you have questions regarding the discovery process in your case, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced Cole County criminal defense lawyer. 

Rule 25.03 Disclosure by State to Defendant Without Court Order

According to Rule 25.03, upon written request from the defense, the prosecution must provide the defendant with the following types of evidence (but not limited to) within a set period. 

Evidence the prosecution must disclose (if requested) when filing criminal charges: 

Arrest records, incident reports, written/recorded statements, photos/videos, other electronic communications, and data related to the criminal charges. 

Evidence the prosecution must disclose (if requested) after the indictment or filing of criminal charges in circuit court

  • Arrest/incident reports, investigative reports, written and recorded statements, photos, videos, electronic communications/data related to the offense 
  • Names, addresses, a summary of statements, etc.  of the witnesses the state intends to call 
  • Prior criminal convictions of the witnesses the state intends to call 
  • Photographic or video surveillance evidence against the defendant 
  • Documents, electronic data, books, etc. that belong to or were obtained from the defendant

Rule 25.04 Disclosure by State to Defendant by Court Order Requiring a Showing of Good Cause

In some cases, the prosecution may have evidence not covered in Rule 25.03. 

In that case, your Cole County criminal defense lawyer can file a motion to have that information given to the defense. The requested evidence must be relevant to the case, and the defense must show “good cause” for requesting the data. 

Ultimately, the court will decide what information the state must disclose and in what manner.

Rule 25.05 Disclosure by Defendant to State Without Court Order

The prosecution is not the only side that must provide information to the other during the discovery phase. Defendants must also disclose certain types of information upon request including, but not limited to:

  • Expert reports or statements connected with your case
  • Pertinent information regarding witnesses the defense intends to call during the hearing or trial
  • Books, papers, electronic information, etc. the defendant plans to disclose in their defense efforts
  • Information regarding a defendant’s mental health (if applicable) 
  • Evidence used to substantiate claims of an alibi 

Contact a Proven Cole County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you face criminal charges in Missouri, understanding your rights during the discovery phase is essential to mounting a successful defense. At Kirsch & Kirsch, our criminal defense lawyers are here to guide you through the criminal defense process step-by-step. 

Don’t gamble with your future by representing yourself or hiring a subpar criminal defense lawyer. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.