We’ve all seen the detective shows where investigators catch a big break in their case when they find a fingerprint. Oftentimes on television, the discovery of fingerprints leads the police to a suspect, and, ultimately, a conviction. Real life is a little different, but the gist of fingerprints is the same. Fingerprints have been used for identification purposes since ancient Babylonian times. But, it wasn’t until the fourteenth century that the idea of unique fingerprints was established.
Around the start of the 20th century, police authorities started to use fingerprints for unique identification in their investigations. This practice continues today, obviously, but has become much more efficient for law enforcement. For example, the FBI has a fingerprint databank that can provide results of a fingerprint search in just two hours.
So, why is this important to those facing criminal charges? Well, with centuries of science and modern technology behind them, prosecutors are justified when relying on fingerprints. However, if fingerprints are improperly collected, then they may be deemed inadmissible in court. It is also critical for a defendant to know that simply because their fingerprints are at the scene of a crime does not mean that they committed the alleged offense.
When crafting a criminal defense strategy, it is critical to know how the prosecution is going to pursue its case so the defendant can provide explanations and be prepared to attack inconsistencies and evidentiary issues. This often requires a keen attention to detail and a thorough knowledge of the law. Those who are facing allegations of criminal wrongdoing may be able to find assistance in the form of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: FindLaw, “Fingerprints: The First ID,” accessed on June 24, 2016