Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 12. Preliminary Hearing
3/31/2020

§ 19.2-187. Admission into evidence of certain certificates of analysis.

A. In any hearing or trial of any criminal offense or in any proceeding brought pursuant to Chapter 22.1 (§ 19.2-386.1 et seq.), a certificate of analysis of a person performing an analysis or examination, duly attested by such person, shall be admissible in evidence as evidence of the facts therein stated and the results of the analysis or examination referred to therein, provided that (i) the certificate of analysis is filed with the clerk of the court hearing the case at least seven days prior to the proceeding if the attorney for the Commonwealth intends to offer it into evidence in a preliminary hearing or the accused intends to offer it into evidence in any hearing or trial, or (ii) the requirements of subsection A of § 19.2-187.1 have been satisfied and the accused has not objected to the admission of the certificate pursuant to subsection B of § 19.2-187.1, when any such analysis or examination is performed in any laboratory operated by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services or the Department of Forensic Science or authorized by such Department to conduct such analysis or examination, or performed by a person licensed by the Department of Forensic Science pursuant to § 18.2-268.9 or 46.2-341.26:9 to conduct such analysis or examination, or performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Service, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Forensic Document Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. Secret Service Laboratory. For purposes of this section, any laboratory that has entered into a contract with the Department of Forensic Science for the provision of forensic laboratory services shall be deemed authorized by the Department to conduct such analyses or examinations.

B. In a hearing or trial in which the provisions of subsection A of § 19.2-187.1 do not apply, a copy of such certificate shall be mailed or delivered by the clerk or attorney for the Commonwealth to counsel of record for the accused at no charge at least seven days prior to the hearing or trial upon request made by such counsel to the clerk with notice of the request to the attorney for the Commonwealth. The request to the clerk shall be on a form prescribed by the Supreme Court and filed with the clerk at least 10 days prior to the hearing or trial. In the event that a request for a copy of a certificate is filed with the clerk with respect to a case that is not yet before the court, the clerk shall advise the requester that he must resubmit the request at such time as the case is properly before the court in order for such request to be effective. If, upon proper request made by counsel of record for the accused, a copy of such certificate is not mailed or delivered by the clerk or attorney for the Commonwealth to counsel of record for the accused in a timely manner in accordance with this section, the accused shall be entitled to continue the hearing or trial.

C. The certificate of analysis of any examination conducted by the Department of Forensic Science relating to a controlled substance or marijuana shall be mailed or forwarded by personnel of the Department of Forensic Science to the attorney for the Commonwealth of the jurisdiction where such offense may be heard. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall acknowledge receipt of the certificate on forms provided by the laboratory.

Any such certificate of analysis purporting to be signed, either by hand or by electronic means, by any such person shall be admissible as evidence in such hearing or trial without any proof of the seal or signature or of the official character of the person whose name is signed to it. The attestation signature of a person performing the analysis or examination may be either hand or electronically signed.

D. Any testimony offered by either party in a preliminary hearing or sentencing hearing, or offered by the accused in any hearing other than a trial, from a person who performed an analysis or examination that resulted in a certificate of analysis may be presented by two-way video conferencing. The two-way video testimony permitted by this section shall comply with the provisions of subsection B of § 19.2-3.1. In addition, unless otherwise agreed by the parties and the court, (i) all orders pertaining to witnesses apply to witnesses testifying by video conferencing; (ii) upon request, all materials read or used by the witness during his testimony shall be identified on the video; and (iii) any witness testifying by video conferencing shall certify at the conclusion of his testimony, under penalty of perjury, that he did not engage in any off-camera communications with any person during his testimony.

E. For the purposes of this section and §§ 19.2-187.01, 19.2-187.1, and 19.2-187.2, the term "certificate of analysis" includes reports of analysis and results of laboratory examination.

F. Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring a locality to purchase a two-way electronic video and audio communication system. Any decision to purchase such a system is at the discretion of the locality.

Code 1950, § 19.1-106.1; 1974, c. 200; 1975, c. 495; 1976, c. 245; 1983, c. 178; 1984, c. 607; 1988, c. 494; 1990, cc. 737, 825; 1992, c. 56; 1994, cc. 41, 375; 1995, c. 437; 1999, c. 296; 2000, c. 336; 2002, c. 832; 2005, cc. 868, 881; 2006, c. 294; 2009, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 1, 4; 2010, c. 656; 2011, cc. 384, 410, 645; 2014, cc. 328, 674, 719; 2015, cc. 75, 126; 2017, c. 669; 2019, cc. 478, 479.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.