DNA plays an important role in crime investigations. From collecting fingerprints to hair follicles and swabs of saliva, DNA is the evidence that can make or break a criminal investigation. Today, we will define DNA, show you how DNA is typically used in criminal cases, the new technology surrounding DNA, and discuss whether DNA testing is always accurate.
What is DNA?
Simply put, DNA is a blueprint or guide of cellular structures that create the genetic makeup of a person and reveal their identity.
How is DNA Used in Criminal Cases?
DNA is used in criminal cases to hold a person accountable for a crime and is typically used in these types of matters:
- Theft crimes
- Murder and Homicide
- Sexual offenses and assaults
According to a report in NBC 7 San Diego News, in violent crimes involving handguns, investigators and analysts are now able to use ammunition or shell casings to obtain DNA and link suspects to crimes.
DNA is more advanced than it was even five years ago. In fact, DNA is so advanced now that gel is being used to prevent theft crimes. According to an article in Today, more than 5 million thefts occur each year in the United States.
Now a technology company is helping homeowners and renters by offering an anti-theft kit. The anti-theft kit allows homeowners and renters to take matters into their own hands by using gel to protect their property in the event a burglary occurs.
With the rise of thefts in San Diego, because of Proposition 47, we can expect for this gel technology to become more commonly used, especially since over 5,000 police departments have partnered with the DNA technology company.
Is DNA Testing Always Accurate or Reliable?
Of course not.
DNA mishaps is the primary reason why criminal defense attorneys make it a point to challenge DNA to represent their client. Many factors affect DNA testing, including:
- Human error.
- Chain of custody errors.
Under certain circumstances, DNA can be deemed inadmissible or is not allowed to be used as evidence in a criminal trial, under the California Evidence Code.
With these challenges, an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will be able to use the DNA against the prosecution to prove their client’s innocence. Continue reading