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Chain of Custody

As a part of the foundation for introduction into evidence of the results of any blood-alcohol test, the prosecution must establish a complete chain of evidence. In other words, the prosecutor must be able to trace, through competent evidence, exactly where the chemical sample was at all times, from when it was extracted from the defendant to the moment it was finally analyzed; in some instances, as, for example, with pre-trial discovery, the chain must be extended into the present. In addition to proving where the sample was, the prosecutor will probably have to show in whose custody it was at all times and that it was properly labeled and stored. They must negate the possibility that it was in an unidentifiable individual’s control at any point in time and that the sample was misplaced or exchanged mistakenly for another sample. In short, the prosecution must clearly establish that the sample taken from the defendant was the one analyzed and could not have been tampered with.

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