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How can the chain of custody help me with drug charges?

Being charged with a drug crime can be stressful. You might find yourself concerned about the penalties you might face, how it will affect you and your family's future, and how best to defend yourself. This can be challenging to figure out, particularly when you are up against aggressive prosecutors who want nothing more than another conviction to their record. However, no matter how weak your case may seem, you may have a very strong legal defense based on evidentiary issues.

When evidentiary issues arise with regard to physical evidence, you may be able to get it suppressed, meaning that it cannot be used against you in court. This can turn a seemingly weak case for the defense into a weak case for the prosecution. In drug cases, these issues can frequently come as it relates to chain of custody.

Chain of custody refers to the process and documentation related to the care of evidence from its initial seizure to its presentation at trial. If there is a gap in the chain of custody, then it may be possible to raise doubt as to the evidence's validity. For example, if there is no documentation that drugs were seized upon arrest, and then drugs that were allegedly seized at the time of arrest are presented at trial, you or your attorney can raise an objection. Although the judge may know the law pretty thoroughly, he or she will allow in proposed evidence unless there is a strong objection made to disallow it.

Therefore, if you are facing drug charges, then you need to be prepared to fully defend yourself. This means knowing the law, making and meeting objections, and making legal arguments that raise doubt as to your guilt. Many Pennsylvanians find that having the assistance of a skilled legal advocate goes a long way in helping them put forth the strongest case they can.

Source: FindLaw, "How to Suppress Evidence," accessed on Oct. 24, 2016

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