After a search of your home or car, the police find a bag of something illegal. How can you be sure that the bag from your arrest is the same bag produced at trial?

If you watch police shows, you have probably heard the expression “chain of custody.” In order to use evidence against you, the state must demonstrate the chain of custody between the police search and your trial.

For items with unique characteristics that are not easily changed, tampered with or contaminated, the State may simply present testimony that the item is in substantially the same condition as it was when taken. But for items such as narcotics or blood, the state must show that any tampering or accidental substitution was unlikely. Once the state does this, you may challenge the state by showing actual evidence of tampering, alteration, or substitution.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. If the evidence in your case was mishandled, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress it. Even if the police acted properly and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

Source: People v Trice.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

Spread the love
This entry was posted in chain of custody, evidence. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply