Los Angeles DNA Evidence Lawyer
Television crime dramas would have us believe that every criminal case is solved through the use of DNA evidence. In real life, DNA, while helpful to exonerate or convict a defendant at times, is rarely the deciding factor in most criminal cases. DNA evidence is not absolute. A slow, cumbersome process, DNA testing's accuracy is dependent upon the reliability of those conducting the test and the procedures used in the testing, meaning a skilled defense attorney can often times bring the validity of a DNA test into question during the trial as a defense strategy.
Just What is DNA and How is it Used in Providing Evidence of a Crime?
DNA is the acronym that stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. It is a substance which exists in the individual cells of every living organism, including humans. Seen as a strand when examined under a microscope, DNA carries the chemical code for the make-up of a person. Scientists can pinpoint the codes for such things as eye color, hair color, and other genetic traits, making DNA testing a handy piece of evidence for prosecutors and defense attorneys alike to use in the prosecution or defense of clients.
In the case of DNA chemical testing, the test focuses on a particular section of DNA, the short tandem repeat (STR) because this particular section of a DNA strand varies widely from person to person, making it easy to test. To a layperson, DNA looks like a ladder that is twisted over and over again with each crossbar of the ladder representing something called a locus. Each crossbar or locus have something called an allele on it which contains a single genetic trait (say the trait for brown eyes). The DNA testing that criminal investigators use doesn't test what an actual alleles does, but instead the test looks for a comparison of a particular allele and compares a sampling from a crime scene with that of a suspect to determine a match or not. The more loci that are tested, the more accurate the DNA chemical test is. Most crime lab tests for 18 to 19 matching loci among a sample taken from a crime scene and a reference sample taken from a suspect to consider the samples a match.
Challenges to DNA Evidence that Defense Attorneys Might Use to Defend your Criminal Charge
Defenses that are typically used against a DNA test during a criminal trial are those that challenge the process used in the collection of the DNA sample from a crime scene and the chain of custody during the time the sample was transported to the lab. In addition, a defense attorney may also challenge the procedures of the lab that did the testing. If DNA is contaminated during any step of the process, the results can be erroneous or ambiguous, particularly with the sample contains DNA from more than one person. Thus, many times DNA evidence is considered to be too controversial to be of use to the prosecution, giving a good defense lawyer more ammunition to protect his or her client.
R.J. Manuelian is experienced in Defense of Criminal Charges Based on DNA Evidence
If you have been charged with a crime and the prosecution plans to use DNA evidence, you need to hire a defense attorney with experience handling DNA cases. R.J. Manuelian is a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney with the technological knowledge and experience to represent those whose criminal case is based on DNA evidence. He'll carefully examine the evidence, challenge any challengeable aspects of the DNA testing, and provide you with a solid defense strategy for your particular case. Contact R.J. today for a free consultation regarding your DNA case.