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.
By now you’ve seen enough crime television to know that fingerprints are the most unique and individual way to identify a person. Everyone has their own unique set of fingerprints unlike any other. it seems impossible to believe with billions of people on the planet no two people share the same fingerprints. It’s factual, and it’s still difficult to believe something as small as a finger has enough space and room for there to be billions of different patterns. Over the course of history, fingerprints have been developed and used to identify bodies, people who have no memory of their identity, and people who committed crimes. If you are arrested for a crime, your fingerprints might be used to put you at the scene of the crime. They’re used all the time in prosecution, and there are many ways in which a prosecuting attorney might use fingerprints in a case.
How are Fingerprints Used?
When fingerprints are found at the scene of a crime, they are recorded. They are then sent to the police station where they are run through law enforcement software that houses the billions of fingerprints on record in the world. These fingerprints could be matched to a person if their fingerprints are in the system. If you’ve never been fingerprinted and the prints found at the scene are yours, they will not strike a match. However, if your prints are in the system when they are run from a crime scene, a match is found and more evidence is piled against you.
The basis of fingerprints at a crime scene is to place you at the scene. It’s important to notate that not all fingerprints are an immediate burden of proof of anyone’s guilt. Depending on where a crime took place, there could be a hundred valid reasons your fingerprints are at the scene. For example, if a crime occurred at your home, your fingerprints are all over the home. The same goes for your office or any location you visit regularly. Your fingerprints are all over the world, from the buttons on elevators in hotels to hotel rooms to store counters and even on the ATM at the local bank.
The presence of your fingerprints at a crime scene is not automatic proof you are guilty. Even if there is an assault in your home and the weapon was a knife, your fingerprints could be on the knife simply because you used it last night to make dinner. If the guilty party used the knife to assault someone in your home, either their prints will be on it with yours or the wore gloves and didn’t leave a print behind.
Prosecuting attorneys use prints as evidence, but it’s not proof someone is a criminal.
How Does a Fingerprint Work in A Case?
There are many factors to consider before a fingerprint can be used as proof someone committed a crime. The prosecuting attorney has to prove three things. They have to prove the fingerprint is relevant, material, and it assists the case. If it cannot be proven, the fingerprint is all but useless.
What Happens Now?
If you’ve been arrested and there is a fingerprint found that matches yours, it could be used. If there is any valid reason your fingerprint should be where it was found for any reason other than to commit a crime, it’s difficult for a prosecuting attorney to use it against you. If your prints are found in your office or home where a crime is committed, they belong there and it’s difficult to use them as evidence. If the print is found in the home where a crime was committed and you have no relationship with that person and deny knowing that person, there is no reason for your print to be in their home. This could mean the print is used against you.
The best thing you can do is contact an attorney. We can help your case. We work with our own forensic professionals, and we can question the validity of a fingerprint, determine how it got there, and we can help your case. Don’t wait to call for help.
Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.
Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.
Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.
We provide superior service, excellent results, at a level superior to other criminal defense law firms. Regardless of where your case is, nationwide, we can help you.
"Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them..."David Bruce
"Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet."Rowlin Garcia
"Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind."Francis Anim
555 W 5th St 35th floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013
35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106
85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004
195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201