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Fort Myers Criminal Defense Lawyer / Blog / Drug Crimes / Challenging the Chain of Custody in Fort Myers Drug Cases

Challenging the Chain of Custody in Fort Myers Drug Cases


Chain of custody is an important but ill-understood concept in Fort Myers drug cases. While the average defendant might not be aware of what this phrase means, a qualified attorney can form an entire defense strategy around it. Chain of custody issues are relatively common in drug cases, and some defendants have been acquitted after their attorneys raise issues regarding chain of custody. But what exactly is the “chain of custody” in a drug case – and how can you challenge it for positive outcomes?

What Exactly IS the “Chain of Custody” in a Drug Case? 

When prosecutors, law enforcement officials, laboratories, and other parties take possession of drug-related evidence, they have “custody” of that evidence. Once they have custody, they become responsible for its safety, reliability, and transparency. These parties must be very careful to prevent any tampering, loss, or alteration of the evidence during transport, storage, and analysis. If they fail in this regard, the evidence may become unreliable and therefore inadmissible in court.

Why Is Chain of Custody Important? 

Chain of custody has become increasingly important in drug cases today due to the shocking frequency with which police officers plant drug evidence on innocent people. There have been numerous documented cases of this in Florida within the past few years, and this has thrown doubt on the entire criminal justice system. Corruption is certainly an issue within police departments across the State, and establishing the chain of custody is crucial for prosecutors facing scrutiny.

The prosecution always has the burden of proof, and this applies to the chain of custody. In other words, it is their responsibility to prove that the evidence is reliable. It is not, on the other hand, your responsibility to prove that the evidence is unreliable. If police cannot convincingly establish a proper chain of custody, the evidence may be thrown out of court.

Can I Challenge the Chain of Custody? 

Even though it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove proper chain of custody, you can also challenge the reliability of the evidence by highlighting chain of custody issues. You can do this in many ways. First, your attorney might closely examine the evidence log, which should record who had control of the evidence – and at what time. Any inconsistencies, abnormalities, or errors could help you challenge the chain of custody. You might also challenge the sealing of the evidence. For example, broken seals could indicate that the evidence has been tampered with.

Find a Qualified, Experienced Drug Defense Lawyer in Fort Myers 

If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced drug crime defense lawyer in Fort Myers, look no further than Foley & Wilson. Chain of custody issues represent only one potential defense strategy in a drug case, and there are many others to consider. With our help, you can push back against charges, challenge the evidence laid against you, and seek positive outcomes. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective defense strategy.




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