November 3rd, 2016
Destroyed EvidenceThe laws regarding destroyed evidence are not as favorable to the accused as you may think. Many times this issue comes up in DUI cases because police failed to preserve a video tape of field sobriety tests. It has also come up in the case of missing blood samples and even breath samples. But if it happens, it is a major issue in every case from drug possession to murder, and destroyed evidence can potentially lead to a dismissal of your case! The real key to whether the outcome of your case will be affected hinges on whether the evidence was destroyed in "bad faith". If evidence in your case is "potentially useful", you must prove to a court that the police acted in bad faith when the evidence was destroyed. However, if you cannot show that the police acted in bad faith, then the only way a court will take action in your case is if you can show that the evidence was "material exculpatory". That means that it was apparent that the evidence could have exonerated you before it was destroyed and now you will be unable to obtain comparable evidence. If one of these two scenarios can be presented at a hearing, there is a possibility that your case might be dismissed because of a Due Process violation. Obviously each case is fact specific and the evidence presented at a hearing will determine if the law has been violated in a way that satisfies these rules. If it does not, there is still a possibility that the evidence might be suppressed under the circumstances and that the judge will prevent it's use at trial. So if the police videotape your DUI roadside tests but a month later the video is accidentally deleted or lost, this may not cause a dismissal. However, if your home surveillance camera records a guy lighting your car on fire, but police then discard the video because they think the case is a slam dunk without it, that guy may have a valid motion to dismiss. This is why you need an experienced Pasco County criminal defense attorney on your side to evaluate your case and determine if you have a valid motion to dismiss.
Categories: Pasco County Florida