Chain of Custody Law and Legal Definition

Chain of custody is a process that must be followed for evidence to be legally defensible (acceptable to courts and government agencies). It involves these main elements:

* The evidence collector properly identifies the evidence.

* The evidence collector must be a neutral party who has no personal interest in the test results (e.g., a hospital, clinic, or laboratory staff person).

* The evidence collector tamper-proofs and secures evidence at the collection site.

The following is an excerpt from a state statute dealing with chain of custody:

§ 10-1002. Chain of physical custody or control.

(a) "Chain of custody" defined.- In this part:

(1) "Chain of custody" means:

(i) The seizing officer;

(ii) The packaging officer, if the packaging officer is not also the seizing officer; and

(iii) The chemist or other person who actually touched the substance and not merely the outer sealed package in which the substance was placed by the law enforcement agency before or during the analysis of the substance; and

(2) "Chain of custody" does not include a person who handled the substance in any form after analysis of the substance.