How are Fingerprints Used in the Prosecution?
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.