One common defense in a drug-related case is that the prosecutor cannot prove the supposed drugs involved were actually a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) under New Jersey law. Many people may not believe it is difficult to identify drugs, however, samples of the substance must be tested by forensic lab technicians and the results must be reported for a conviction to be valid. A http://www.muni-mail.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Fallonmemo.pdf recent letter to the New Jersey Public Defender demonstrates just how important checking these lab results can be.
According to the letter, the prosecutor’s office had discovered that a police lab technician had written down lab results that samples were marijuana without actually testing the samples first. While only one instance was directly witnessed, it casts doubt on any drug samples previously processed by this lab technician over the course of his decade-long employment. Estimations indicated more than 2,000 cases may have been impacted, many of which ended in conviction and imprisonment for the alleged offenders. What will happen in these cases is as of yet unclear, though the criminal defense community will be watching for solutions.
Even Unintentional Errors should be Identified
While the above matter involves egregious and intentional behavior, most lab errors occur because of simple human mistakes. However, that does not make these errors any more acceptable to serve as the basis of a criminal conviction and sentence. For this reason, a skilled drug crime defense attorney should always closely examine all actions by the lab in relation to the drug testing and potential lab results. Some errors that commonly occur can include:
- Misplacing samples
- Mislabeling samples
- Allowing samples to be contaminated
- Not properly calibrating testing equipment
- Allowing untrained technicians to handle or test the samples
- Having a gap in the chain of custody of a sample
If any of the above errors may have occurred, false results of the drug testing may occur and should not be admitted as evidence in a criminal case.
Call for a Consultation with a NJ Drug Defense Lawyer Today
Identifying possible false lab results for a drug test is only one of many ways experienced criminal defense attorney Robert E. DePersia, II can defend against a variety of criminal drug-related charges. If you have been charged with possession, distribution, or manufacture of a controlled dangerous substance, you should not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Robert E. DePersia, II as soon as possible so that we may start working on your defense.