Police Lab Testing Drugs

My question is a pretty simple one. How long after cops seize or acquire narcotics should they submit them to their lab to be tested to make sure they are narcotics?

Asked on May 30, 2009 under Criminal Law, Maryland

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As far as I know there is no hard-and-fast rule on this;  most narcotics aren't really perishable, so it isn't a question of test reliability.

What's more important, really, is the record keeping, what's called a chain of custody.  If I were an attorney, and evidence of this sort took an unusually long period of time getting to the lab, I'd take a close look at the evidence lot for it -- which would have to be supplied in discovery, to make sure there weren't any questionable entries.  That evidence log has to show who had control of the evidence, with dates, times and signatures for each change, because without that, there's no proof that the substance seized from the defendant is the same that was tested by the lab.

If you think something like this might be an issue in your case, you need a good lawyer protecting your rights.  One place to look for an attorney is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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