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How pure is the forensic evidence against you?

As bad as things seemed when police arrested you, you may feel the situation getting darker. Investigators have informed you that they have evidence from the crime scene that links you to the events. Perhaps they are amending the charges or preparing to take your case to the grand jury.

If you have been or are about to be indicted for a violent crime or other felony charges, you have a right to be concerned. A conviction for such offenses can mean years or even decades behind bars. However, just because prosecutors claim to have forensic evidence against you is no reason to give up on your defense. You would be surprised how unreliable forensic evidence can be.

Gathering evidence is not foolproof

Your DNA or other trace evidence left at a crime scene does not necessarily prove you committed the crime. It is possible that you left your DNA behind days or weeks before the crime occurred. Additionally, contamination at any point in the investigative process is quite common, for example:

  • People may walk in and out of the crime scene before police arrive.
  • Police and investigators carry their own DNA and the DNA of others when they arrive at the scene.
  • An investigator who fails to properly clean the instruments may contaminate any samples he or she gathers with them.
  • Investigators who fail to wear appropriate protective gear, including gloves, masks, booties and jumpsuits, may leave their own DNA or transfer biological evidence from one crime scene to another.
  • Investigators who fail to gather evidence in the appropriate order may inadvertently destroy evidence of someone else at the scene.
  • Heat, cold, rain, wind or other elements can dilute or destroy evidence.

Of course, it is no secret that crime labs in New Jersey and across the country have been linked to scandals, but intentional altering of evidence is not always the greatest concern. Improper care of evidence samples during transportation, storage and analysis can lead to wrong conclusions, placing your freedom on the line. If crime lab personnel fail to follow procedures for decontaminating tables and equipment where they will test your samples, they run the risk of false results.

Your ability to build a strong defense depends on the integrity of the evidence against you. If police are relying on forensics to convict you, having an aggressive and skilled attorney on your side can be to your advantage.

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