How To Challenge Drug Case Evidence

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For drug crime attorneys, one of the most common responses to charges against their clients is to challenge the evidence. Take a look at four ways drug crimes lawyers will try to raise questions about evidence in order to attempt to undermine the state's case against a defendant.

Chain of Custody

Whenever a prosecutor presents any piece of evidence, they have to prove there has been an unquestioned and unbroken chain of custody. In other words, the cops have to document clearly everything they've done from the moment they laid eyes on the alleged evidence. Suppose someone didn't correctly mark an evidence bag at the scene of the alleged offense. Drug crimes attorneys will immediately want to raise questions to a judge about how anyone can trust the evidence.

Similarly, the cops have to document the chain of custody when they send alleged drugs out for testing or put them in a storage facility. Anything that might have broken the chain of custody will give a defendant a good argument to ask the court to dismiss the case or at least exclude the evidence.

Search and Seizure Rules

The police also have to obey certain rules before they begin search and seizure activities. Notably, this includes establishing that they have reasonable suspicion to confront a person and then probable cause to conduct a search.

Picture the start of a traffic stop. Did the cops have a good reason for the stop, such as the driver repeatedly crossing the center line? If not, that's a solid basis to request the dismissal of the case.

Likewise, the police have to establish probable cause to conduct a search, and they have to do it expeditiously. For example, a cop might claim they saw what they thought were drugs. Note that the cops can't spend tons of time hoping to manufacture probable cause. If they spent 30 minutes without asking to do a search, drug crimes lawyers will argue that they took too long.

Testing and Validity

Another argument is to challenge the validity of any drug lab testing. For example, a legal narcotic might be a chemically close cousin of an illegal one. Similarly, the class of testing equipment could have a history of false positives. Drug crimes lawyers can demand the discovery of all information tied to testing because it has the potential to be buggy.

No Challenge

You also might elect to not challenge the evidence. Instead, your lawyer could assert you were using the drugs legally or that the evidence isn't anything illegal. Some cases may hinge on whether the evidence was ever even in a defendant's possession.

For more information, contact a drug crime attorney