Clear and Convincing Proof
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule that contains our unique genetic code. Specific to the individual (or individuals in the case of identical twins), DNA is reliable enough to be used in a court of law. A person's DNA is constant, meaning it can be used to solve cases from years or even decades in the past, as long as there is preserved evidence. The use of DNA evidence in criminal cases is an example of how technology has changed the way we are governed. Your DNA is accurate enough to land you behind bars or set you free, assuming it is properly used. Perhaps one of the most powerful uses of DNA evidence today is in domestic violence cases.
DNA in Domestic Violence Cases
Domestic violence cases often involve physical altercations between the perpetrator and the victim. Almost any type of cell can contain DNA, including skin cells, hair, saliva, and blood. In domestic violence cases, samples that contain DNA evidence can be collected at the scene of the crime and analyzed.
Skin cells or hair from the suspect can serve as convincing evidence when found on the victim's clothes. Similarly, the victim's DNA can also serve as evidence if found on the alleged abuser. For example, skin cells or blood from under the abuser's fingernails can prove the victim was scratched. Conversely, DNA evidence from someone else found at the scene of the crime can work to clear the alleged abuser's name.
Although DNA can be convincing evidence in a domestic violence case, there are many situations where it is less indicative of violence. For example, if the defendant and the alleged victim lived together, the presence of the defendant's hair or skin cells in the home won't necessarily prove guilt. The DNA evidence must be relevant to the case. Also, not all samples collected will contain enough DNA to meet the legal standard for evidence. Law enforcement has standard procedures for collecting evidence at the scene of domestic violence crimes, but if that evidence can't be found, they have to rely on other sources such as fingerprints and witness testimony.
The type of DNA evidence that could affect your case depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the alleged crime. DNA evidence needs to be interpreted in the context of the case. This type of evidence alone may not be enough for the prosecution to get a conviction. But it can help the court rule out suspects and thus correctly identify the offender.
Although not a regular practice in criminal defense cases until just a few decades ago, DNA analysis now serves as an effective tool to identify those who've committed crimes. DNA is extremely accurate with very little chance of misidentification. For some, DNA proof means justice can finally be served. For others, their DNA may be the missing link that tied them to a crime they would have otherwise gotten away with. And in cases where there are no eyewitnesses, DNA can fill in where testimony is lacking.
Rules and Procedures of Evidence
You need to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney with experience handling domestic violence cases if you think DNA evidence might play a role in your case. Law enforcement may collect DNA evidence at the scene of the crime. That evidence then becomes a part of the case. Obtaining the results of the DNA analysis can be helpful, and an attorney can help you request the results so you can know what you are up against. Similarly, a knowledgeable Tulare area domestic violence defense attorney with an understanding of the science behind DNA may be able to use DNA evidence to clear your name or prove you didn't commit the crime. Doing so, however, will take a thorough knowledge of the California rules and procedures for evidence.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, contact attorney Christopher Martens and his legal team for help in Tulare, Fresno, or Kings County. Experienced in domestic violence defense, our Visalia area legal team can explain your charges and help you get the outcome you want. Attorney Martens has over ten years experience in criminal defense and won't be afraid to take your case all the way to trial. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.