essential to grasp how it works and its limitations.
The role of DNA in criminal defense
To date, there have been 375 cases where DNA evidence has been instrumental in exonerating individuals from life-changing sentences, including the death penalty.
Contrary to its depiction in Hollywood, DNA testing does not conclusively establish someone as guilty. Instead, it can serve as definitive proof that a suspect did not commit the crime they are being accused of by demonstrating their lack of involvement.
In other cases, authorities may identify the actual perpetrators after comparing the DNA samples taken with those in their database.
DNA evidence can be pivotal in freeing the wrongfully convicted, but there are still ways to dispute its credibility.
Challenges to using DNA evidence
DNA analysis boasts remarkable accuracy, assuming the evidence undergoes proper interpretation and remains free from contamination.
When using DNA evidence in a criminal case, it is necessary to enlist an expert witness to explain the findings in court. An unreliable expert, however, could further complicate the case.
Moreover, the journey that DNA evidence takes from the crime scene to the lab leaves numerous entry points for tampering or contamination. There is also a small issue of mixed DNA profiles, where a sample belongs to more than one person, which can present challenges for interpretation.
The opposing party may question the preservation and handling methods of forensic analysts to doubt the reliability of the evidence.
Finally, DNA testing is not always practical and applicable to every case. The costs associated with DNA evidence lab testing, legal fees and investigative work can add up to a sizable sum. It can also take some time to accomplish.
The power of DNA evidence cannot be overstated. But like any other tool, its application demands precision and caution. If you want to use DNA proof to help clear a loved one of a crime, you might want to talk to a professional first to understand its impact fully.