Know Your Rights: Chain of Custody in Maryland Drug Trials
Our Criminal Defense Attorneys Investigate if there Are Defects in the Chain of Custody Before Drugs are Admissible
If you have been accused of a crime involving drugs, more than likely the drugs that were taken from your person or property will go from hand to hand as they are processed, analyzed, stored, and sent to the courtroom as evidence. Every time a change of hands occurs, it must be documented to ensure that the evidence was not tampered with or handled negligently.
The process that evidence goes through from the time it is seized to the time it reaches the courtroom is called the “chain of custody.” Under Maryland law, the prosecution must prove that there was a proper chain of custody, if properly requested by the Defendant. All requests to bring the chain of custody to trial must be made within certain time constraints prior to trial. It is in your best interests to hire an experienced attorney to handle these sensitive matters for you.
The chain of custody requires that every person who touches the drugs before they are sealed in a package to be sent to the drug lab can be called as a witness at trial. The police are also required to properly document the transfer of the drugs after packaging until they are delivered to the lab for analysis. This is to insure that the bag of drugs that the police officer seized during the arrest is the same bag of is the same bag introduced on the day of trial and that it has not been interfered with.
Unless a proper and timely demand for the persons in the chain of custody to appear at trial is made by the defendant, the drugs will be admissible and any defects in the chain of custody will be unnoticed. It is up to an experienced criminal defense attorney to investigate the chain of custody to make sure that it is rock solid before admitting evidence to trial.
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Frank C. Gray, Jr., Esquire.
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