Physical evidence plays a crucial role in most criminal cases. For example, when the police suspect someone has committed a murder, they often spend weeks searching for the murder weapon. The chances of getting a conviction without it are lower.
If you think about how many people the police charge with crimes each day, you will realize how much evidence the police collect. Clearly, if they do not store and catalog it correctly, there is considerable scope for confusion. People could be convicted based on evidence that has nothing to do with them. Or they could be convicted based on evidence that someone has tampered with to incriminate them.
Investigating the chain of custody could be important to your defense
“Chain of custody” is the term used to describe what happened to any evidence after the police collected it. It applies to electronic evidence as well as physical. The chain needs to be unbroken for evidence to be admissible in court. That means the police must have a written record, with signatures, of every person who accessed the evidence and every time someone moved it from one place to another.
Prosecutors will try to present as much evidence against you as they can. They may do so even if they know there is a gap in the item’s chain of custody. Discovering and highlighting that gap requires legal experience, so ensure you do not face them alone.
If you face any criminal charge, getting help to understand all the possible defense options will be crucial. Investigating the chain of custody is just one that may help you beat or at least diminish the charges you face. Experienced legal guidance can help you know what steps to take next.