If you have criminal charges pending against you, then the chances are good that police officers or investigators have already gathered evidence of the alleged offense. One of the most important parts of planning your criminal defense strategy involves reviewing the evidence that the prosecutor will prevent against you.
Understanding what claims the prosecutor will make in court and how they intend to support those claims can help you plan for the best way to protect yourself from those allegations. When there is any sort of physical evidence, there could be multiple different issues that might convince the courts to exclude that evidence from your case.
When there is evidence of contamination
Police officers need to secure the scene of a crime quickly so that other people or even animals don’t disrupt the evidence left behind or contaminate it.
The longer evidence or a crime scene sits without police inspecting it, the greater the chance that someone or something will have compromised the evidence. It’s even possible that you may have unwittingly contaminated the crime scene or the evidence by entering an area or touching something.
When there are issues with the chain of custody
What police locate a piece of physical evidence, they need to start a paper trail for it to show they didn’t fabricate or contaminate it.
The chain of custody is the official record of everyone who has had access to physical evidence and what they did with it. If the documentation for the chain of custody is incomplete or shows improper handling or unauthorized access to the evidence, that could be a reason to challenge the evidence.
When the police didn’t follow the right procedure to get the evidence
Some law enforcement professionals, in their eagerness to maintain a high solve rate for crimes, could bend or even outright break the law.
They could violate the basic civil rights of the people they suspect of criminal activity or even enter someone’s property without a warrant, permission or probable cause to do so. If you can challenge the behavior of police that led to the acquisition of the evidence, the courts may not allow the prosecutor to prevent that evidence.
Understanding what could compromise the integrity of the evidence in your criminal case can help you plan to defend yourself.