When you watch the latest episode of NCIS or Forensic Files, solving the crime at the center of the episode’s storyline will include gathering and evaluating evidence. The investigators may find fingerprints, DNA samples or try to determine what blood spatter near the murder victim means.
What these TV crime shows often don’t depict is that analysts can interpret real crime evidence differently and often do.
Different interpretations of evidence
First, forensic evidence collected while investigating a crime isn’t 100% foolproof. Police may gather only partial fingerprints or a mixed DNA sample. A DNA test may be inclusive as to whose DNA it is, depending how much DNA was collected or if it has deteriorated.
Second, criminal analysts have to present a theory behind the crime. Why were someone’s fingerprints or DNA found at the scene? When were these pieces of forensic evidence deposited? Does the blood spatter indicate where the attacker was in the room?
The theory behind forensic evidence can vary. One expert can claim that someone deposited their DNA at the scene inadvertently, months ago. Another can say that the DNA shows that someone was at the crime scene on the day of the crime. A defense attorney can say that even if a suspect was at the scene of the crime, that doesn’t necessarily mean the suspect is guilty. Someone else may have had more motivation to commit the crime and was there too. The story an attorney presents surrounding the evidence can have a real impact on a verdict.
Getting representation in a criminal case
Because evidence can be interpreted differently, it’s important to seek legal representation if you are facing criminal charges. A conviction for assault, domestic violence, manslaughter or rape has serious consequences. You want to have an attorney who can present a strong defense against the charges you face, an attorney who could consult an expert on different ways to interpret the evidence against you.
You may think the evidence in your case almost guarantees a conviction. However, that may not be true. Working closely with an experienced criminal attorney can make all the difference to help you avoid a conviction and spending time in jail.