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How reliable is police evidence against you?

Following your arrest, you may have endured some intense questioning by Indiana law enforcement. Detectives may have tried to convince you that you would benefit from confessing to the crime with which they had charged you. Perhaps they told you the physical evidence against you was overwhelming.

If you are facing charges of committing a violent crime, you know that the penalties for a conviction are severe. You may end up spending years in prison, so it is in your best interests to carefully scrutinize any evidence against you before agreeing to a deal. In some cases, that evidence may not be as reliable as you think. The chances are often high that physical evidence will become contaminated either at the crime scene, during collection, during analysis or anytime in between.

The risk of contamination at a crime scene

When investigators arrive at the scene of a crime, they may not know how long ago the crime occurred or how many people may have walked through the scene. Once investigators do reach the scene, the evidence is not necessarily safe from contamination. In fact, it is not unusual for investigators themselves to carry traces of DNA to a crime scene.

Other factors that may contaminate evidence or confuse investigators include the following:

  • Weather conditions, such as heat, cold, wind or rain
  • Crime scene personnel who neglect to properly decontaminate tools used for collecting evidence
  • Investigators who fail to take precautions against contamination or transfer of evidence between scenes, such as wearing disposable jumpsuits, masks and gloves
  • Investigators who fail to follow protocol for collecting certain kinds of evidence without risking the destruction of others
  • Crime scene personnel who do not properly seal and protect evidence containers before transporting them
  • Crime lab analysts who are careless with evidence samples or negligent in maintaining sanitary workspaces and equipment

At any time, if investigators on your case misplaced or mishandled evidence, that evidence may wrongly point to you or distract police from a more thorough investigation. It is important that the court find such evidence inadmissible. If you are trying to avoid a conviction for a violent crime, you may benefit from a skilled attorney who has experience to challenge the evidence against you. An astute defense attorney will question the training of the agents who collected and handled the evidence and will aggressively defend your rights to help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible.

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