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What issues can arise with chain of custody errors?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2021 | Criminal Defense

The chain of custody is the process of documenting evidence to ensure its authenticity. All evidence that law enforcement collects must have a clear chain of custody.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, if there is a breakdown in the chain of custody, it can create several legal issues. You have the potential to use such an issue as a strategy in your case to defend against criminal charges.


One of the most important aspects of the chain of custody is to ensure nobody loses important evidence. This process requires proper documentation from the moment someone collects evidence to the time that evidence reaches the court. Because of this, it makes it incredibly difficult to lose evidence. However, if the process breaks down, it could lead to lost evidence.


The chain of custody helps to reduce potential tampering issues. Every person who has access to a piece of evidence must go on record. They also must go on record with what they did with the evidence and where they took it. The documentation requirements make it difficult for one of those people to do something that would harm the evidence’s integrity.


If there is not a proper record of the chain of custody, you may be able to have the court rule the evidence as inadmissible. Your objection to the evidence would rest on the fact that the prosecution is unable to verify the authenticity of the evidence and prove it relates to your case because there is no path from the crime to the evidence.