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How can evidence in a criminal case be challenged?

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Evidence plays a key role in the prosecution of criminal cases. Courts cannot just convict someone because the police think that person committed the crime. They need some kind of proof.

If you are facing charges, understanding how the evidence against you can be challenged will be crucial. Here are some ways that can be done:

Dispute the legitimacy of its collection

How did a particular item of evidence come into the hands of the police or prosecution? Did they enter a property without permission or a warrant to get it? Did they record it in a situation where privacy laws do not allow the recording of others without their permission?

Cast doubt on its handling

Police need to maintain what is known as a chain of custody for any evidence collected. For example, if they wish to present a gun in court, they must be able to document that gun’s movements and who had access to it from the moment an officer collected it to the moment the prosecutor presents it in court. Gaps in the chain could mean that someone had the chance to tamper with it or swap it.

Dispute whether the evidence is correct

Many people thought DNA evidence was infallible. Then researchers realized that, as methods of DNA detection became more sensitive, it could lead to confusion. Your DNA is constantly transferred as you move through life, so just brushing up against someone’s coat on a crowded train could lead to a forensic team finding your DNA at a crime scene you never visited (but the coat did) weeks later.

While some evidence can be very hard or impossible to challenge, there is always a chance. If you are facing criminal charges, you need to investigate all your defense options, however unpromising they might seem.