Jacksonville’s citizens do make mistakes that lead to criminal charges. No matter whether one’s guilt or innocence is easy to prove, the accused is guaranteed under the Constitution the right to be free from evidentiary taint. If one believes one has been a victim of evidence tampering, one should obtain an experienced attorney to fight the case and ensure that the evidence against one will be suppressed.
According to WFLX.com, Annie Dookhan, a Massachusetts chemist, has been arrested for faking drug test results, forging paperwork and mixing samples at a state police lab, a scandal that has thrown thousands of criminal cases into doubt. Dookhan’s alleged mishandling of drug samples prompted the shutdown of the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston last month and resulted in the resignation of three officials, including the state’s public health commissioner.
Massachusetts State police say Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab. Defense lawyers and prosecutors are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the fallout. As more and more suppression hearings are arising for tainted evidence, one should know one’s rights and options under the law.
Tampering with evidence is the crime of altering, destroying, or concealing physical evidence with the intent to affect the outcome of a criminal investigation or court proceeding.
There are many ways to tamper with evidence. A few examples include:
• deleting emails or texts that are relevant to an investigation
• planting biological evidence (blood or DNA, for example) in a way that casts suspicion on an innocent person.
• concealing beer cans in a car after being stopped by police
• throwing a murder weapon into a river
• hiding a damaged car bumper after a hit-and-run accident
• falsifying business records
Each case of concealment, taint, or destruction may be charged as a separate offense. Forgery charges may also be brought if documentary evidence is altered.
Evidence is often hidden, tainted, or destroyed by someone who has committed a crime or wants to help someone else who is. In many cases, the accused is a private citizen who has tampered with evidence in some fashion. However, the officials responsible for ensuring that evidence is properly preserved, such as drug screening and testing in Jacksonville, do not always follow the procedures required under the law.
The latest issue is the rise in crime scene examiners and lab technician convictions for tampering with evidence after they planted evidence, such as blood specks on a weapon or added drugs in a screening, in an attempt to bolster prosecutions. Police officers have also been found guilty of tampering with evidence. The prosecution may try its hand at the evidence, but an experienced drug crimes defense attorney could file a motion to suppress that evidence, ensuring one’s rights are protected under the Constitution.
One should not risk going to jail for a long period of time when an experienced attorney can make sure that their best defense is brought forth and their rights are protected .
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Mass. chemist in drug test flap is arrested, Denise Lavoie and Erika Niedowsk, WFLX.com