There is a common misconception that DNA is a prefect piece of evidence. This leads too many people accused of a crime to assume that if they are arrested and DNA evidence is a positive match, they have no option other than to admit guilt – whether they committed the crime or not. This is false. There are actually a few ways that DNA can be inaccurate.
The Basics of DNA
The first step to understand how DNA evidence can be inaccurate is understanding what it is. Know that all humans’ DNA is 99.9% identical to everyone else’s. It is that 0.1% that sets us apart. When a scientist analyzes your DNA, they can isolate what genetic markers are yours and yours alone. When investigators collect DNA at a crime scene, they are looking for DNA that can then be compared to the suspect to prove that the suspect was at least present at the crime.
Potential Situations in Which DNA Can Fail
The truth is that DNA testing is almost 100% accurate almost 100% of the time. The possibility that two people really share the same DNA is essentially only valid in the case of identical twins. That said, this does not mean that DNA evidence is always without fault. Some ways it can fail include:
- A bad sample was collected at the scene. If a sample has the DNA of more than three people mixed together, then it can be flawed. This is valid in many situations such as samples collected from doors, windows, and other areas with many people touching them.
- The lab made a mistake. The other main way that DNA can result in faulty results is if it was not handled correctly at the lab. This is often the case in busier jurisdictions in which labs are dealing with hundreds and, in some cases, even thousands of samples at once. Despite the protocol designed to prevent mix-ups, and despite the expertise of those involved, it bound to be true that mistakes do happen.
This is why your criminal defense attorney will get all relevant documentation about your sample. We will assure that it was collected properly, stored properly, labeled properly, and analyzed properly. If it was not, then it is possible that it was tainted and we may be able to have it deemed inadmissible. If this happens, the charges against you could be dropped.
Do Not Take DNA Evidence at Face Value
If you have been arrested for a crime and DNA is the main evidence against you, we strongly recommend you call Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation. We can assess your case, get the facts, and find the best way to defend you. No matter your charges, you are not in this alone – an attorney can help. Call us now to learn how you can move on with your life.