Did The Police Mishandle Evidence In Your Case? Know Your Rights
You are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution has the burden of presenting reliable and compelling evidence that proves that a defendant committed every element of a selected criminal charge. Criminal cases always come down to the evidence—but the evidence that suggests guilt and the evidence that helps to exonerate a person.
This raises an important question: What happens if law enforcement or prosecutors mishandled key evidence? The short answer is that you may have a legal remedy available. An attorney will protect your rights. In this article, our Orlando criminal defense attorney explains the key things you should know about your rights and options if the police mishandled evidence in your case.
Know Your Constitutional Rights: Fair Trial and Due Process
Your rights under the United States Constitution help to protect you against the mishandling of evidence by police and prosecutors. To start, the Sixth Amendment guarantees all people a right to a fair trial in a criminal case. If a trial is not fair, that is a violation of a person’s most basic rights. In addition, the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all people the right to due process under the law. Due process is a requirement of procedural fairness. Due process protections have important implications for cases in which police or prosecutors have mishandled evidence.
Two Key Legal Remedies for Mishandled Evidence
Once evidence is mishandled by police, it fundamentally affects the fairness of the trial. Without accurate and reliable evidence, a defendant is not in the right position to protect themselves. You have potential legal remedies available if law enforcement officers or prosecutors mishandled the evidence in your case. Here are the two primary options for getting justice:
- Motion to Suppress (Exclude) Unreliable Evidence: Is evidence that suggests guilt unreliable because it was mishandled by police or prosecutors? If so, your Florida criminal defense attorney can file a Motion to Suppress. If granted a Motion to Suppress evidence will result in evidence being excluded from a criminal case. This could make it difficult or impossible for prosecutors to establish a defendant’s guilt. Charges may even be dropped.
- Favorable Inference for Missing/Damaged Exculpatory Evidence: In other cases, police or prosecutors may lose or damage evidence that could have potentially be exculpatory or exonerating. Prosecutors are supposed to turn over all evidence favorable to the defendant in a timely manner. If exculpatory evidence is mishandled, a defendant may be granted a favorable inference. The court may decide to “assume” that the evidence in question was going to support the defendant.
Schedule a Fully Confidential Consultation With an Orlando Defense Attorney
At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando criminal defense lawyer is standing by, ready to protect your rights. If law enforcement mishandled evidence in your case, we are here as a legal resource. Call us now or contact us online to set up a fully confidential consultation. From our offices in Orlando, we provide criminal defense representation throughout Central Florida.