Modern forensic science has made it easier than ever before for law enforcement officers to conclusively link an individual to crime scenes through fingerprints, shoeprints and genetic information left at the scene. Unfortunately, it is also increasingly possible for innocent people to wind up implicated in serious crimes due to forensic issues or contamination.
If you find yourself facing criminal charges, you no doubt have concerns about the penalties you could face if convicted and how to potentially defend yourself. In some cases, the best defense strategies will involve challenging the evidence the state has against you, but you can only challenge the evidence in specific situations.
Police obtained the evidence illegally
One of the most common reasons people challenge evidence is because police break the law or standard procedure in their attempt to gather evidence. Claiming to have a warrant when there isn’t one or otherwise violating law and procedure to gather evidence could later result in the courts throwing out that evidence, which could undermine or completely destroy the prosecutor’s case.
There are issues with the chain of custody or potential contamination
When forensic specialists are testing samples, the potential exists for mistakes and cross-contamination. From running the wrong test on a sample to contaminating evidence with their own DNA, there are many things that can go wrong.
There is also the potential for breaks in the chain of custody. To ensure evidence is authentic, police must gather it carefully and track every use. In cases with chain of custody issues, every transfer of the sample has not received adequate documentation. Exploring the chain of custody of evidence can help your attorney determine if challenging evidence is a viable option in your case.