Anchorage crime lab issues illustrate fallibility of state investigators

If you have been arrested for DUI, a property crime or any type of criminal offense, it might seem like the overbearing power of the system has you locked into a predetermined outcome. It is true that the state brings to bear many powerful resources in investigating and prosecuting criminal cases. Nonetheless, your own legal rights stand as a check against state power, and it is important to remember that no matter the evidence the state seems to have against you, law enforcement authorities are not infallible beings.

Like everyone else, the police and their support network of behind-the-scenes personnel make mistakes. If one of these mistakes affects your case, it could mean exoneration or a favorable plea deal. A recent issue with the state crime lab in Anchorage provides an example of how a criminal investigation snafu could potentially impact real world criminal cases.

Pure testing samples of various drugs adulterated with foreign substance

On January 15, the Alaska Department of Public Safety made an announcement concerning "irregularities" at the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory located in Anchorage. Specifically, foreign materials were discovered in what is known as controlled substance reference standards, which are pure forms of drugs used in lab tests as controls when analyzing suspected drugs that have been seized by the police.

Officials have not taken a position on the likely cause of the irregularities. It could be that a crime lab employee engaged in theft of the controlled substance reference standards and replaced the stolen materials with lookalikes. It could simply have been an error or oversight by crime lab workers. Or, it could have been something else entirely. The Department of Public Safety has launched an investigation that aims to get to the bottom of the Anchorage crime lab issues.

Whatever the cause of the crime lab irregularities, they could impact dozens, potentially even hundreds, of cases. And, any systemic problems with the crime lab that come to light as a result of the investigation could alter the outcome of a vast array of criminal cases far outside the limited universe of drug crime prosecutions.

Uncover police wrongdoing in your case with the help of an Anchorage defense attorney

Even if the trouble at the Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory in Anchorage does not have direct implications for your case, it serves as a good example of the type of government missteps that can give you an advantage when building a legal defense. Perhaps a police officer improperly administered a field sobriety test, conducted an illegal search in violation of your rights or questioned you without providing a proper Miranda warning. Whatever the mistakes made by the authorities in your case, exposing them can help get evidence against you excluded and ensure the just outcome you deserve.

If you have been accused of criminal wrongdoing, get in touch with an Anchorage defense attorney today. Your attorney will help you ensure that mistakes made by the police and the prosecution do not go unnoticed, and that you are able to use every option at your disposal to fight the charges that have been levied against you.