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Chain of custody errors and your defense: What to know

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2021 | Criminal Defense

If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, the evidence before court plays a significant role in determining the final verdict since it helps the prosecution prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When the evidence against you is overwhelming, you may think it’s an open-shut case. 

However, mistakes in the chain of custody may render the evidence against you inadmissible in court. The chain of custody consists of the procedures that the police are supposed to follow in handling and storing any evidence obtained from a crime scene.

What constitutes a chain of custody error?

Chain of custody errors may occur at any point in collecting, transferring, storing, and testing evidence. For instance, if the police found you in possession of an illegal substance but failed to document its description properly and failed to keep track of how it changed hands on the way to a lab for testing, that is a chain of custody error. Other examples that may give rise to the chain of custody errors include mislabelled evidence, improper storage of evidence, and lost or misplaced evidence.

You may file a motion to suppress such evidence

When the chain of custody surrounding critical evidence in your case is unclear, you may file a motion to suppress such evidence. This means that the evidence will not be part of your trial, which can sometimes make all the difference.

Without crucial pieces of evidence, a prosecutor’s ability to meet their burden of proof may be a long shot, and the chances of a desirable verdict for your case are heightened. Therefore, it is important to learn more about this and other defense strategies at your disposal when going against the charges you are facing.