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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27051
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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What is the legal procedure of a controlled substance?

Customer Question

What is the legal procedure for verification of a controlled substance?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was charged with possession of methamphetamine, no weight was recorded, and testing was not done before my arrest, how do I know they didn't pick up a bag from a different source and test that as what they found?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


As you will find out if you choose to go to trial on this case, a chain of custody must be established by the prosecutor so that it is clear that the evidence that the police chemist tested is the same that was vouchered by the officer when he found it at the scene and the same which is produced in court at hearing and trial. This is very carefully established and involves the use of evidence bags and vouchers and seals on which all who handle the drugs sign off. And all of this must be testified to and explained before the drugs can be introduced as evidence.

If there's a problem with this chain, the defense will object and point out the problem. If the judge agrees that the proper evidentiary foundation could not be established, the evidence would not be admissible against the defendant.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The criminal complaint states that the substance was tested, do they have to do that field test when I was arrested?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

You're welcome!

Shoes? What shoes??

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Hmmm. Some kind of technical glitch I think. I posted that in response to another customer whose reply said "Thank you. And by the way, nice shoes." I had no idea why he said that, and i have no idea how that ended up on your post.

No, they don't have to do a field test. But there must be a formal laboratory analysis. And that happens in the police lab.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK. I guess I'm not understanding how the officer put in the criminal complaint that the substance was tested.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

If he said in the complaint that he tested the substance at the scene and he didn't test, that could be challenged on cross examination. But he is not required to test at the scene. That's a different issue.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He didn't say when it was tested but the way it is worded in the complaint makes it seem as if he tested it before I was arrested via NARK test kit
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately, if he didn't say it, you can't assume it. You'll have to wait for the discovery and/or the police officer's testimony at hearings or trial.

If he's lying about having field tested it, that's a good thing. Anything that shows sloppy police work is always helpful to the defense.