Police Procedures When Collecting Evidence & Admissibility at Trial
Whether it’s an aggravated assault case with bullet casings left behind at the scene, a drug crime case with suspected marijuana or cocaine hidden inside a car, or a homicide case with blood streaks on the pavement, crime scene investigators play an important role in the criminal justice process because they are tasked with gathering evidence that helps to establish whether a suspect actually committed a crime.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, it is imperative that you have a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side throughout the legal process. A skilled attorney may be able to get the evidence against you ruled inadmissible prior to trial. Depending on the circumstances, this could give your attorney leverage during plea discussions with the prosecutions. Moreover, it could lead to the prosecution agreeing to drop the charges or to the judge granting a motion to dismiss the case.
When it comes to challenging evidence, there are many potential strategies that can be used by a criminal defense attorney. In many cases, the defense lawyer may challenge the police officer’s probable cause for conducting the search in the first place. If the police lacked probable cause to pull over the suspect on the road or to enter the suspect’s home without a warrant, then it’s possible that any evidence obtained during the search and/or the subsequent crime scene investigation will be ruled inadmissible in court.
Crime Scene Investigation Mistakes
Another strategy that can potentially be utilized by a criminal defense lawyer is to challenge the crime scene investigation procedure. This is particularly effective when the investigators made a mistake while collecting the evidence.
It is very easy to commit an error during the evidence-gathering process because there are often many people at the crime scene. In fact, depending on the circumstances of the case and the nature of the alleged crime, it is likely that myriad people will be required to show up at the crime scene. These individuals will probably include the police officers who first noticed the criminal activity and/or made the arrest, detectives who have to follow-up on the situation and investigate the alleged crime, the CSI unit that is supposed to document the scene and collect physical evidence, the district attorney or prosecutor who must ensure that the evidence-collection process meets all legal requirements, forensic experts who can provide assistance to detectives and crime scene investigators, and medical examiners if it’s a homicide case and a cause of death needs to be determined.
If any of these individuals fail to promptly arrive at the crime scene, or if any of them fail to adequately do their jobs, it’s possible that the evidence obtained at the scene can be effectively challenged at trial.
If you have been charged with a crime, it is imperative that you have a qualified criminal defense lawyer on your side throughout the legal process. Jill R. Cohen, Esq., is an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney who will help you fight your charges and challenge the evidence in your case. Contact The Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen today to schedule a free initial consultation.