Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Traffic Violations, and Family Law & Divorce

What is a chain of custody?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Drunk Driving

If the police arrest you and charge you with a crime, it will be advantageous to learn more about various legal concepts that might help you fight the charges.

One such concept is the chain of custody. Here is why it matters.

A problem could invalidate evidence against you

The prosecution will need the evidence the police have collected that backs up their theory that you committed a crime. Examples could include a weapon with your fingerprints on it, a sample of your DNA found at a crime scene or a positive blood test for alcohol or drugs.

Some evidence can be highly compelling if presented in court. So, to avoid being prosecuted, you need to try to prevent it from being presented in court. That doesn’t mean setting out to steal it before it gets there. Instead, you need to build a case that will convince a judge that they should not allow the prosecution to use the evidence in court because its chain of custody is in question.

Let’s say the prosecution has a blood sample taken from you after the police arrested you on suspicion of drunk driving. The judge needs to be sure the sample the prosecution presents is yours — not someone else’s that was mislabeled in the lab.

If the police do not clearly document every step of that evidence’s journey from retrieval to court, then it gives you opportunities to challenge its authenticity. Clearly, this is not an easy line of defense, but it’s one you that can be explored if you have experienced legal guidance.