In a criminal case, the mishandling of evidence may result in the case ending in the defendant’s favor. Evidence is the core of any case, so when that evidence goes missing or is mishandled in another way, it’s reasonable to point that out as a part of your defense.
Your attorney’s job is to ask about evidence that has been collected and to make sure that it was obtained legally. On top of that, the evidence should be handed off and preserved appropriately.
What makes the mishandling of evidence such a big problem?
Mishandling evidence could lead to contamination, for example. This is why the police or forensic teams should wear the right personal protective equipment and change their gloves each time they work with a new area of the scene of a crime. Cross-contaminating a scene is a serious issue that has led to people facing charges for crimes they did not commit.
What happens if evidence goes missing or deteriorates?
In the case that evidence goes missing or deteriorates because of mishandling, the defendant may have an excellent opportunity to argue against facing any charges at all. For example, if there were fingerprints that suggested that the defendant was at the scene of a crime but they go missing, the prosecution no longer has any real evidence to show the court. This could make the case so weak that the prosecution decides not to pursue it.
How can your defense attorney protect you?
In criminal cases, your defense attorney will focus on finding out what kinds of evidence the prosecution has and how those pieces of evidence may affect you. They’ll also do their due diligence to make sure that all evidence was collected correctly and that all evidence is accounted for. If anything is missing or was mishandled, then your attorney should let you know and take steps to get the case dismissed. If dismissal isn’t possible, they may also start negotiating for a plea deal or other manner of settling the case outside of court.