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Update in Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure and Effects on Drug and DUI Cases

In Pennsylvania, in drug crimes and DUI the Commonwealth was required to call the lab technician to testify to the fact that the item seized or possessed was a controlled substance, and specify the weight of the controlled substance, or testify to the amount of alcohol or controlled substance in someone's blood while operating a motor vehicle.

Now, because of Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 574, the Commonwealth can put on a trial without calling the lab technician to testify. This rule states:

the Commonwealth may admit a forensic laboratory report without the need of the person who prepared and certified that report's testimony if the Commonwealth provides: (1) Notice; and (2) Certification. The Commonwealth must file written notice to the defense no later than 20 days before the start of trial. If defense files a written demand within 10 days of service of the notice, then the report and certification will not be admissible unless the witness who performed the analysis and examination testifies. Judge may extend the time period to file a demand or grant a continuance of trial. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 574(b),(c) and (d). The Commonwealth must also provide defense a certification for the person who performed the analysis or examination of the laboratory report consisting of the following 5 criteria listed in subsection (E).

This rule essentially states that unless the defense files a written demand to the Commonwealth instructing them to call the lab technician, the defense waives any objection to the laboratory report.

When you or a loved one are looking for legal representation, make sure you contact an experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who understands the law and can use it to protect your rights.

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