Evidence Destroyed?… Not So Fast

What happens if someone destroys evidence in your case?

According to Maryland Rules of Evidence, if someone who has access to relevant evidence in your case destroys or fails to produce the evidence, then you may argue to the jury that they may infer that the evidence would have been unfavorable to the party who destroyed or failed to produce it. In other words, a party cannot destroy or hide evidence that is unfavorable to them just so they may win their case. This is unfair to the other party. In order to protect justice in your case, the judicial system allows an inference to be made that the evidence was unfavorable; however this inference cannot be found as fact. It is merely an inference that the fact is there. It cannot prove that fact. People are under a duty to preserve evidence once an allegation of wrong doing has been made. Therefore, if this duty is not upheld sanctions are enforced. Don’t worry if you think you can’t prove your case because someone destroyed or failed to preserve evidence. There is an alternative!

Alternatively, it is important that if you are involved in a crime or an accident that you are careful to not destroy any possible evidence or traces of evidence, whether they would help your case or hurt your case. It takes an understanding of the law to evaluate any possible evidence. An experienced attorney can help assess the situation, look at all the facts and the evidence, and create a strategy to best represent you in your case, whether you need a defense or are building a case against someone else. As you read above, accidentally destroying evidence, whether it was helpful or damaging to your case, could be skewed negatively if argued well by an opposing attorney.

Fred Antenberg is a Columbia Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in the Howard County and Central Maryland region. Fred will go over your case and help evaluate the situation in order to best represent you and reach a favorable result in your case. If you have a case, CONTACT Fred today at 410-730-4404 for your FREE consultation!