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The fundamentals of challenging evidence

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2024 | Criminal Defense

When criminal cases go to trial, the prosecution and defense battle over what evidence the courts should allow. Both sides want to present their strongest facts while blocking problematic elements that could hurt their case.

When facing drug charges, evidentiary challenges can help with your defense. There are a few popular grounds for evidentiary challenges.

Unreliable testing methods

Forensic evidence relies on scientific testing, but some methods are prone to inaccuracies. For example, research shows that bite mark analysis is unreliable, inconsistent and often disputed. Other techniques, such as hair analysis, lack standardized practices, raising reliability concerns. You can challenge the validity of forensic evidence by highlighting doubts about the underlying techniques.

Chain of custody issues

Physical evidence is useless if law enforcement breaks the chain of custody. A broken chain of custody means there are gaps in documenting everyone who handled an item, from collection through testing and storage. With no reliable record of custody, mishandling or tampering could contaminate evidence.

Hearsay testimony

Hearsay is a statement made outside of court used to prove the truth. Since the declarant cannot be cross-examined, hearsay is generally prohibited. But sometimes secondhand statements get presented as evidence. For example, a detective testifying that an informant accused the defendant of a crime is improper hearsay.

The more you understand about the rules of evidence, the easier it is to stand up for your rights in court. Evaluate all of the evidence against you before your trial and look for vulnerabilities where you could petition for exclusions.