The laws dealing with the collection of evidence in sexual assault cases have undergone some important revisions recently. Effective from 1 January 2017, Bill 636 will impact the way evidence is collected in pending sexual offense cases.
This makes it crucial for those accused of such crimes to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable Miami criminal lawyer. Not only will this ensure a fair trial, but it will also guarantee that the prosecutor follows the stricter procedural guidelines set out under the new bill.
New requirements for Law Enforcement Agencies
Under the Bill, the Florida Department of Law enforcement requires law enforcement agencies to submit sexual assault evidence kits:
- Within a month of receiving evidence or
- Within a month of receiving the request for testing.
In the event that an assault evidence kit is not used, it falls upon law enforcement to provide DNA evidence within a 30-day period. This window period comes into effect after receiving evidence or after the request for testing available evidence has been issued by the above individuals.
This DNA evidence could include anything from bedding, to clothing, to personal items. The evidence must furthermore be stored in an appropriate location which prevents any possibility of contamination.
New Procedural Guidelines
The new bill not only deals with time-sensitive issues regarding the submission of evidence, but also the manner in which evidence is collected. Law enforcement agencies are required to:
- List the standards and procedures they used for selecting from the evidence available
- List the various time-frames to which the evidence submitted is subject to analysis
- Complete rape kit testing within 120 days of submission to the criminal testing laboratory
Contacting a Dedicated Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer
Because the incorrect handling of forensic evidence can have a potentially devastating influence for both victim and defendant, it’s imperative that you seek the counsel of a skilled Miami criminal defense attorney where evidence is material to your case.
The possibility that evidence may be tainted and thus lead to improper identification is an ever-present danger, which could land an innocent person on the sex offender registry, even in the best-case scenario. This revised law goes a long way toward ensuring that evidence is collected and tested in a more fair and objective way, protecting everyone involved in the case.
Have you or someone you know been wrongfully charged of sexual assault? It’s critical to act now. Enlist the help of a reputable Miami criminal lawyer now so that you can nip wrongful accusation in the bud.
An extensive knowledge of evidentiary procedures can be vital for creating the best outcome for your case, and possibly even having it thrown out of court. Allow our dedicated legal team to pre-file your case before it even moves to the prosecution stage.
Phone us today or complete our standard online contact form and we’ll be sure to get back to you within the hour.
We handle a variety of criminal law cases, so call us now if you have any questions, (305) 615-1285.
View more contact information here: Miami Criminal Lawyer.