DNA evidence has changed the criminal justice system forever. Thanks to technologies that allow us to accurately determine the person who DNA evidence, such as blood, sweat, hair, saliva, and semen, belongs to, police can accurately determine if a suspect has been at a crime scene. DNA has a unique pattern that can be determined and identified to a single unique individual. DNA evidence can be extracted from just as little evidence as a few cells, so even trace amounts of evidence at a crime scene can often crack cases wide open.
DNA evidence has been used by prosecutors to prove the guilt of the accused, and defense lawyers have been able to exonerate innocent people by showing that the DNA evidence does not match. Although it has its flaws like any other test, DNA evidence often serves as definitive proof in trials.
If Police Find Physical DNA Evidence Related to My Case, What Does That Mean?
When police properly collect and handle DNA evidence and the lab uses generally accepted testing methods and conducts their analysis correctly, DNA evidence is extremely accurate. There is only about a one in a billion chance that a sample will falsely match another person. This means that DNA is very compelling to juries. If the DNA evidence matches a different person, your defense will be in a much better place. On the other hand, if the DNA evidence ties you to the crime, it will be an uphill battle in court.
Unfortunately, DNA evidence collection and testing processes are not perfect. While law enforcement agencies try not to taint evidence by using strict policies during evidence collection, such as using gloves and keeping evidence at a correct temperature, mistakes happen often. When DNA evidence collected at the crime scene mixes with the DNA of another person, samples are contaminated, making an identification much more difficult. Sometimes the lab where evidence is sent uses unreliable or inaccurate tests or stores the evidence incorrectly. This can similarly compromise the results. This evidence will not even be allowed to be presented in court if the judge determines that a mistake with the evidence has been made.
It is also important to remember that the simple presence of DNA in a crime scene alone is not enough for a conviction. If a crime occurs in a public place, such as a park or on the street, there is bound to be DNA evidence from a large number of people. Similarly, your DNA is bound to be in places you frequent often. DNA evidence is only a piece of the puzzle of solving a crime. While the prosecution may believe that it proves a case, it may only be a coincidence or have a reasonable explanation.
For these reasons, DNA evidence, while a serious part of any case, is not the entire case itself. An experienced Cincinnati defense attorney will be able to help you determine what the DNA evidence means in your particular case and help you deal with it. If you are a suspect in a criminal investigation where the police have DNA evidence, call us at Luftman, Heck & Associates today at (513) 338-1890 for a free consultation on your case. Get experienced Cincinnati criminal lawyers on your side to fight for your rights and to ensure that all procedures are being used properly, so that any DNA evidence is not compromised against you.