Chain of Custody
Michigan Drug Crimes Attorneys Defending Understand Chain of Custody Defense
Individuals who have been arrested for or charged with a criminal offense involving drugs may wonder what "chain of custody" means, and why it is important to a strong and effective defense. At Grabel & Associates, our Michigan drug crime lawyers are skilled and experienced in this area of the law. We vigorously defend every client in order to reach the best possible outcome. However, we also understand the importance of our clients being educated regarding the criminal justice system, which is why we want to explain the chain of custody, and what it could mean for your situation.
What Prosecutors Must Establish
When you are charged with using or possessing drugs, narcotics, or other illegal substances, it is important that those drugs are admitted into evidence in order for the prosecutor to have a strong case against you. However, it must be proven that those drugs are in fact the same drugs which were involved in the crime, and that they have not been tampered with at any point in the process. This means the prosecutor must establish that the chain of custody has not been broken. If a prosecutor cannot prove that the drug evidence was properly handled it presents a weakness in his/her case.
Ultimately, it is necessary for the prosecutor to show that the drugs involved in a crime have not been altered in any way or substituted, and that there has been no change in the condition of the drugs.
Importance of Chain of Custody for Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys
The good news for a criminal defense lawyer as well as the client is that an issue with chain of custody may give the attorney grounds to challenge the admissibility of the drug evidence. Typically, the chain of custody begins at the time the drug evidence was taken through the final testing.
A skilled defense attorney will demand the prosecutor demonstrate that proper safeguards were in place in each "link" of the chain to protect the physical evidence. Something as seemingly minor as a seal being broken on the container in which the drug evidence was stored could mean the chain of custody was broken.
To put it in simple terms, drug evidence may be inadmissible in court if its continuous whereabouts cannot be traced, and its identity and integrity established. Every "link" is a person who may have handled the evidence, from the arresting police officer to individuals who may have been responsible for testing the drugs. In a drug case, police retain custody of the evidence throughout; the prosecutor must clearly establish that the drugs were indeed in police custody for the entire period between confiscating them from the defendant, and the drugs being tested by a chemist.
Contact a Skilled and Aggressive Michigan Drug Crime Attorney Now
Chain of custody issues can be extremely helpful in defending a client accused of a drug crime. At Grabel & Associates, we are a team of highly regarded criminal defense attorneys known throughout Michigan for obtaining outstanding results for our clients. Call us today at 1-800-342-7896 on contact us online.