Timothy O. McCalep

Seeking the truth, even when no one else does

When charged with a crime, it can feel like nobody believes you. Sometimes, the evidence even points to you and it’s your word against them. We’ve heard the urban legends about how the crime lab confirmed guilt, even when it wasn’t the truth.

It does actually happen. There are crime labs where the people running DNA tests and looking over the scientific evidence aren’t experts themselves, and that affects anybody charged with a crime.

Unreliable evidence

The state of Texas shut down a crime lab last year for using outdated practices and contaminated data. In the aftermath, police departments are scrambling to verify their own processes and more issues have been discovered, including one in Maryland last week.

In Maryland, the police immediately suspended the negligent employee, but what about work that was done in the past? The department states that the violations affect only 19 of 4,200 cases. It’s a small percentage but a single error is detrimental to somebody doing time.

Asking hard questions

In criminal defense, sometimes the evidence seems too powerful to fight, in the same fashion that many believe a DUI can’t be contested because a Breathalyzer result looks so undeniable. The fact is that those readouts are only as good as the Breathalyzer operator, and a crime lab is only as good as the technician handling the data.

The evidence doesn’t always look good on the surface, but further questions about an arrest, proof and the reliability of evidence are what truly make a criminal case.

When you’re dealing with a criminal charge of any kind -- drug possession, assault, burglary and more -- you need someone who will fight for your rights. When jail time is a threat, emotions and stress can consume you. It’s hard to know what to do when you’re up against with no one to turn to.

An experienced criminal defense attorney knows how the legal system works, but also knows how to analyze your case to find the truth.

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