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How can the chain of custody errors affect your case?

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The outcome of your case relies heavily on evidence provided by the prosecution, which must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. It means that such evidence must be handled properly from the time the police obtained it to its presentation in court.

Sometimes, the police make mistakes when handling evidence, which can give rise to a chain of custody errors. These errors can directly impact the charges you face, and you need to be vigilant in case your evidence was mishandled. Here are instances when such mistakes may occur.

Contaminated crime scene

When the police don’t secure a crime scene, other people may access it and contaminate the evidence. Additionally, contamination can occur when the police fail to wear gloves when handling items or gather evidence using non-sterile equipment.

Lack of documentation

The police have to document every piece of evidence in their possession, noting the location or the person it was found on, among other things. Improperly documented evidence may lose its credibility and usefulness in arriving at a verdict.

Improper storage

How evidence is stored is also important. For example, DNA evidence is prone to destruction by the elements. If it is not stored correctly, it could be destroyed hence inadmissible in court.

What does this mean for you?

An error in the chain of custody could mean that the evidence against you has been tampered with. Therefore, you can file a motion to have it suppressed and excluded from your trial. If it is a crucial piece of evidence, your case is not likely to stand, or the charges may be reduced.

However, navigating such a complex area of law requires proper knowledge regarding the handling of evidence. With the correct information, you can dispute the credibility of the evidence against you and have a favorable conclusion to your case.