Superior Court and DWIs: Part II

In addition to increasing the efficiency of DWI adjudication (about which I previously have commented), placing DWIs in Superior Court will improve a defendant’s access to discovery.

N.C.G.S 15A-901 provides that all cases in the original jurisdiction of Superior Court are governed by the State’s open-file discovery law. This means that Defendants are entitled to such discovery following a timely request.

As it currently stands, DWI discovery in District Court is effectively a mere courtesy. The prosecution is not required to hand over discovery. The prosecution usually does so as a courtesy to defense attorneys.

But sometimes that discovery is not complete. For instance, sometimes video needs to be subpoena’s. And the entire maintenance log of the Intox EC/IR machines is not available. Nor are, as a matter of right, the manual used by the Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch of the DHHS in training chemical analysts.

Placing a DWI in Superior Court as a matter of original jurisdiction would cure these gaps in the defendants’ ability to defend themselves in Raleigh DWI cases.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.