Forensic Lab Mistakes and How They can Help in Your Defense

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In order to convict you of a crime, a prosecutor is required by law to prove all of the elements of the crime, which can require various types of evidence. Evidence can take the form of police testimony, witness testimony, physical items, documents, and more. One type of evidence that prosecutors commonly rely upon is the results of tests conducted in a forensic laboratory.

Many law enforcement agencies have forensic labs that help in investigating crimes as well as processing certain types of evidence from crimes. Forensic evidence is commonly used in the following types of cases:

DUI – If an officer suspects that you were driving under the influence (DUI)1 of alcohol or drugs, they may conduct breath or blood tests to see if you have intoxicating substances in your system. These samples will be processed by the forensic lab.

Drug charges – In order to prove you possessed drugs, the lab must test the substance in question to show it is an illegal controlled substance.2

Sex offenses – Forensic labs will process rape kits or other evidence to identify any possible semen or DNA evidence involved.

Determining identity – In trying to identify a perpetrator, forensic labs can process hairs, skin cells, or other organic material to identify any DNA matches.

Forensic evidence is often highly persuasive because it is based on science. However, juries should be aware that forensic scientists often make mistakes that can result in a wrongful conviction. Part of a skilled defense attorney’s role is to identify these errors and use them to challenge the evidence of the prosecutor. Some common mistakes include:

  • Having untrained individuals handling samples
  • Not following protocols for storage or testing of samples
  • Allowing samples to become contaminated
  • Switching or mislabeling samples or results
  • Having contaminated, poorly maintained, or outdated equipment
  • These are only a few of many forensic mistakes that could be critical to your defense.

Discuss Your Situation with an Experienced Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible

At the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice, JR, LLC in Baltimore, we have the resources to build an effective defense against any type of criminal charges. Please call a criminal defense attorney at our office today for free at (410) 694-7291.


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