The following is a guest post by Ron Mondello. The opinions in the article below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Miller Law Group, PLLC.
DNA testing is fast becoming an important choice for linking individuals with crime scenes. It is also used to prove the innocence of wrongly-convicted prisoners as DNA evidence is considered an integral part of any major crime investigation. DNA evidence is also used in criminal trials and its use has grown more during the past couple of decades. Before that, fingerprints were mostly used to identify an individual and were used as evidence in courtrooms. If you have been involved in a criminal case, you should know the truth about DNA testing and how it actually works. One important think to know about DNA testing is that the way it is actually used is quite different from what we usually see on TV shows like CSI and Law and Order. Whatever your criminal charge, be sure to discuss the implications of a potential DNA test with your attorney and also understand how DNA evidence works.
Things to know about DNA evidence
The first thing to know about DNA evidence and testing is that there are certain elements of a person’s DNA that are unique for every individual. Moreover, DNA for an individual can be retrieved from just a few cells taken from the person, such as a droplet of blood, a strand of hair, sweat, saliva, skin or even semen and other kind of body fluid. Professional criminals may know how to avoid leaving a bit of themselves behind at the crime scene, but most people do tend to leave something behind at the crime scene which can be used to identify them and link them to the crime scene.
The next thing to know about DNA testing is that the technology used in crime labs for comparing DNA samples is extremely complex. It is also not understandable by just everyone. However, local police agencies are becoming more and more acquainted with comparing DNA samples taken from the crime scene and concluding who the actual culprit is. If you have been involved in a crime which can prove your innocence by a DNA sample, you must hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. When matching a DNA fingerprint to a sample, all the elements must be equal for it to be an exact match. Even a single unequal element means that there is no match between the samples.
You and your lawyer must also understand that there are two types of DNA testing. DNA fingerprinting or RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) is the first type and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) or amplification test is the second type. RFLP requires a better sample and takes up to eight weeks whereas PCR can be conducted on minimal sample and takes one to three days. The accuracy rates also differ for both these tests.
Using DNA to prove innocence
Apart from using DNA to associate an individual with the crime scene, it can also be used as a powerful tool to determine the innocence of an individual. If a wrongly convicted prisoner’s DNA does not match the DNA sample of the crime scene DNA, which is still available for testing, it can prove the prisoners innocence. So talk to your lawyer if you are innocent and your lawyer will be able to find a way to prove your innocence.
Ron Mondello is a Criminal Defense Attorney and is located in the same building as the Fair Lawn Chamber of Commerce on27th Street in Fair Lawn. Ron has been practicing the defense of traffic tickets and other municipal court matters for over 10 years. He has successfully resolved hundreds of municipal court and DMV matters.