If the chain of custody is broken, vital evidence could be deemed legally worthless.
This often happens if the chain of custody form or evidence bag is mislabeled, if the transfer takes an unreasonable amount of time, or if the evidence falls into the wrong hands.
Why is chain of custody important?
The documentation of evidence is key for maintaining a chain of custody because everything that is done to the piece of evidence must be listed and whoever came in contact with that piece of evidence is accountable for what happens to it.
What is the procedure for chain of custody?
The term chain of custody refers to the process of maintaining and documenting the handling of evidence. It involves keeping a detailed log showing who collected, handled, transferred, or analyzed evidence during an investigation. The procedure for establishing chain of custody starts with the crime scene.
What happens when evidence is contaminated?
Contaminated evidence. Contamination is the introduction of something to a scene that was not previously there. This means trace materials are added to a crime scene after the crime is committed. This can happen before, during and after authorities take samples of the evidence from a scene.
What is the chain of custody as it relates to evidence collection?
The chain of custody is defined as the witnessed, written record of all of the individuals who maintained unbroken control over the items of evidence. It establishes the proof that the items of evidence collected at the crime scene is the same evidence that is being presented in a court of law.