Evidence is a key part of every criminal trial. Without it, the prosecution may find it hard to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the threshold required for criminal offenses.
As such, the chain of custody for the evidence in your case is incredibly important. Here’s what you need to know:
What is the chain of custody?
The process evidence goes through after the police obtain it to its analysis and eventual storage before being presented in court is known as the chain of custody. Since judges and juries do not carry out their own investigations before giving a verdict, they need to rely on verifiable and untainted evidence.
If there are mistakes at any point, then the evidence could be unreliable. For instance, the police may fail to secure a crime scene then later return to collect evidence after it has been accessed and probably contaminated by third parties. Additionally, evidence could be improperly handled or stored, leading to its destruction.
All these are possible flaws in the chain of custody, and they could determine the direction your case takes.
Such evidence may be suppressed
If there are fundamental flaws in the chain of custody, your attorney may file a request with the court to suppress such evidence. Should the court agree with the petition, the evidence may be eliminated from trial. It means that it will not be used in court to arrive at a verdict.
The prosecution could be forced to restrategize on the way forward if crucial evidence is suppressed. In some cases, they may choose to charge you with a lesser crime than what you were initially facing or withdraw the charges altogether.
Learning more about the rules of evidence applicable to your case will help you plan your defense accordingly and ensure that everything concludes in your favor.