DNA evidence is still fairly new in the world of criminal cases, and it’s changed the entire landscape of the law. Since DNA evidence was introduced, it’s helped to free inmates innocent of crimes from jail. It’s been used to convict people of crimes they were not convicted for in the past due to lack of evidence, and it’s been used to solve crimes that have gone decades without a conviction or even a suspect. DNA evidence is some of the most important evidence used in any criminal case, and it’s something many people fear when they’re committing a crime. If you’re accused of a crime you did not commit, you might hope DNA evidence proves you did not commit the crime. Whether you did or didn’t do it, it’s imperative you understand how DNA evidence is used in a court case.
What is DNA?
DNA is unique to all people. It’s a basic matter, and everyone has DNA. The organisms found in your skin, your hair, your blood, and other bodily fluids and parts is used to determine who you are and what makes up your DNA. While everyone has a unique strand of DNA, it’s very similar to others in your family. This makes it easy for technology to determine if someone is related to another person by blood and if they belong to a specific family. According to scientists, DNA is 95% accurate in determining a person’s identity when it’s tested.
DNA is still relatively new, even though it’s been around since the 1980s. It’s not something police officers and forensic scientists used before that, but they do spend time going through old cases that have DNA on file so they can run this information through their systems and find out if a person whose DNA is on file is guilty of a past crime. The introduction of DNA evidence has brought closure to many people who have suffered loss and devastation, and it’s meant jail time and a conviction for many people who got away with their crimes for many years.
How is DNA Used?
When a crime is committed, it’s standard practice for police on the scene to collect any DNA evidence present. This could be collecting any hair found at the scene, any skin found under a victim’s nails, or any other DNA found on a body or on the victim of assault. If there is blood at the scene, it’s matched to the victim’s and tested to see if maybe the victim was able to harm the assailant at some point. DNA is then run through various machines and systems to see if it matches anyone already in the system or any of the other DNA collected at the scene.
Sometimes the DNA collected from individuals at the scene of a crime is collected not because someone is a suspect but because their DNA is going to be present. For example, if a crime is committed in your home, police need your DNA to eliminate certain samples they might find that rightfully belong at the scene. The DNA of a victim is taken to eliminate any other DNA evidence found.
If DNA matches come back to someone who has no reason to be at this location, it warrants discussion with that person. That person could become a person of interest. DNA is used to find people, to compile evidence, and to find people guilty of a crime. Sometimes DNA is difficult to use because it could be present for a valid reason. Other times it’s an open and close case because DNA proves beyond a shadow of a doubt someone committed a crime.
Call an Attorney
If your DNA is found on the scene of a crime, it’s important you call an attorney right away. If you are being questioned because of DNA evidence, say nothing to the officers questioning you until you have an attorney present, even if you are innocent of the crime. Anything you say to an officer can be used against you in a trial, and it might mean you’re convicted of a crime you didn’t commit. Call our offices to speak to an attorney now. We can help you find the right angle, and we can advise you what to say and what not to say when you’re arrested for a crime.