How forensic drug chemistry and drug offenses are connected

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2019 | Drug Offenses

If an Illinois police officer searches a home and arrests someone in the home on suspicion of a drug crime, the officer might seize certain items as possible evidence. Often, the seized property is in connection with alleged drug offenses. Penalties under conviction for drug crimes in this state can be severe.

However, once police turn in the seized property, a lot more needs to happen before a defendant is convicted and sentenced. In fact, many times, cases involving seized substances from private residences never even make it to trial. If a trial does take place, prosecutors can’t merely wander into court saying a particular substance is an illegal drug. They must actually prove it.

Forensic drug chemistry comes into play when prosecutors need to prove that a particular residue, liquid, powder or other substance is, in fact, what they claim it to be. Sometimes, law enforcement officers use special test kits to analyze a sample at the scene of a supposed drug crime. Such tests may help police determine if they have probable cause to make an arrest but by no means does that constitute guilt of a defendant.

Samples of seized property for drug offenses must be sent to a laboratory where trained forensic workers conduct numerous tests and analyze the submitted items. Components of the substance are separated and analyzed, comparing the chemicals to reference materials. If evidence is mishandled, it may be deemed inadmissible in court. Any Illinois resident currently facing legal problems pertaining to criminal charges has every right to seek assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney.