At Lotze Mosley, LLP, our criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland know that presenting DNA evidence during a criminal case is compelling. And thanks to the countless television programs that tout its reliability, most clients believe that if the prosecutors say they have DNA evidence against them, that marks the end of their case.
While each criminal case is unique, from beginning to end, DNA evidence does not always mean the end of your defense.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Washington, DC will investigate the prosecutor’s claims, including what type of DNA they are referring to, where it was found, how it made its way through the chain of custody, and the condition and quality of the sample.
Other factors may limit the evidence’s inclusion in the case, too.
What is DNA?
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is a component of virtually every cell in the human body, including those contained in hair, saliva, mucus, perspiration, blood, semen, skin cells, tissue, organs, and muscle.
It is the fundamental building block for an individual’s genetic makeup.
The average person sheds approximately 400,000 skin cells per day, and DNA can be recovered from those skin cells — in as little as one to five cells.
From a legal standpoint, it can be obtained voluntarily, by court order, or through evidence collection recovery methods from a crime scene or materials left behind by the accused.
Not All DNA Evidence is Created Equal
The important thing to note is, skin cells can be transferred to an item that a person never touched, and the mere presence of DNA does not tell the story of how it got there.
Not all biological evidence is admissible in criminal court cases.
Law enforcement officials and/or forensic investigators must collect and handle biological samples for DNA analysis properly, through well-trained techniques, before they can be considered evidence in a case.
Other factors may compromise the integrity of the DNA that was collected, including:
- Improper handling
- Labeling errors
- Failing to properly preserve the samples
- Lab errors and testing limitations
As criminal defense lawyers in Washington, DC, our goal is to have any compromised or illegally obtained DNA samples excluded from our clients’ cases, so they are not wrongfully prosecuted using evidence that should have never entered the courtroom.
The failure to understand the limitations of DNA evidence and the failure to properly question DNA witnesses has led to wrongful convictions throughout the country and our defense lawyers follow these compromised cases closely, so similar circumstances do not hinder our clients’ defenses.
If you have been arrested for a crime where DNA evidence may be used against you. contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland at Lotze Mosley LLP today by calling (202) 393-0535 to discuss your case.