In general, technology has made a huge difference in criminal cases and trials. One major example of this is DNA evidence. DNA is short for deoxyribonucleic acid and as most people know, is the building block of life. DNA allows for a person, or a court, to see a blueprint for the human organism. DNA exists in cells. Therefore, when you test a person’s DNA, you can see that person’s DNA “profile.”
The idea of testing a person’s DNA has not been around for very long. In fact, it wasn’t until the mid-1980’s that an English scientist, Dr. Alec Jeffreys, found that some parts of the DNA strand contain a pattern, which is repeated over and over again. DNA repetitions will vary in each person – except for identical twins, who have the exact same DNA. Dr. Jeffreys compared samples of different people’s DNA and he found that he was able to identify the individuals based on his findings. This test is now referred to as Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism, or RFLP.
The test itself is pretty reliable, even though it originally took a lot of time and effort. Now, scientists have come up with methods that make testing times much shorter. Further, scientists only require a small sample in order to successfully perform the test.
Alright, so where does DNA come from? Crime scene investigators can collect DNA from a number of places. It’s not all that difficult. Really, almost any form of biological evidence can contain DNA. This means blood, hair, semen, skin from under a fingernail, etc. Investigators just need enough to perform the test. Once DNA is collected and the sample is tested, investigators can compare that with a suspect’s DNA or any DNA that is stored in a police department’s database. In certain situations, suspects can be narrowed down quite quickly. It can be a huge help to investigators.
Many prosecutors consider DNA evidence to be a type of “holy grail” evidence. Meaning, it can be hard to argue against science. For example, fingerprints and eyewitness testimony could be helpful, but it could also be flawed and unreliable. However, if you have solid DNA evidence, you generally have a very strong case.
On the flip side, DNA evidence has been a way to exonerate those who were wrongly accused of crimes – both past and present. In some situations, after cases had been revisited, incarcerated individuals were set free and their records cleared. Each state has different laws and procedures in place regarding DNA evidence, so it is imperative that you consult with a legal professional if you have questions.
Of course, DNA evidence is not perfect. It can be collected improperly or mishandled. There is no doubt that DNA evidence can be difficult to overcome, but it is not the only factor of a case. If you have been charged with a crime in Dallas, Collin or Corsicana County, contact an attorney you can trust. We have helped many clients in these areas and we can help you, too. Do not hesitate to give us a call today!