Understanding How Forensic Science is Used in a Criminal Investigation
Forensic science is one of the most important aspects of any criminal investigation, as it can allow the authorities to do everything from positively identify a suspect in a crime to determine exactly when and how a crime occurred. According to the National Institute of Justice, forensic science is the application of sciences to matters of the law, and can be used to match DNA to an individual, understand blood spatter patterns, and learn the make up of an unidentified drug. With forensic science, the authorities can analyze physical evidence and feel confident in most every decision they make regarding a criminal case. Additionally, the results of a forensics test can be used in the court of law to support evidence admitted at trial.
How Trial Attorneys Use Forensics to Support Evidence
Trial attorneys – both criminal defense attorneys and prosecutors – use forensics to prove and disprove the evidence they present in court. For instance, if there are no known witnesses to a crime, the prosecution may use the evidence found at the scene of a crime to collect DNA evidence that places the suspect at the scene of the crime. Forensics may even be able to prove when a crime took place – down the exact date and hour.
In the case of human remains, forensics may be used to both identify the body and to narrow down the list of possible murder suspects. Identification of the body can be done by analyzing the dental work of the remains, and even by examining the skeletal structure of the individual. If anything, forensics can be used to narrow down the possibilities for whom the remains belonged to—i.e. a young woman of about 25 years of age, approximately five foot five inches and 125 pounds.
Forensics can also be used to determine the cause of death, which may give authorities a lead on the murder weapon to look for, and subsequently, a starting point for their search for a suspect. For instance, if it was determined that the individual died as a result of a gun shot to the head, and the bullet wound was consistent with a .45 caliber handgun, the police can begin by searching the registration database for anyone with a registered .45 handgun in the area.
Crimes Commonly Solved with Forensic Science
Two of the most common crimes solved with forensic science include drug-related crimes and sex crimes. In drug crimes, forensics can be used to determine the chemical makeup of a drug, and therefore, determine whether or not an individual possessed illegal drugs. If the results come back positive for illegal substances, the prosecution can use the results as evidence to convict an individual for anything from drug possession to drug manufacturing or trafficking. In the instance of death by poisoning, forensics can be used to determine the drug used to kill the individual, as well as narrow down the list of suspects by figuring out who would have access to such substances.
In sex-related crimes, DNA may be taken from the victim and the results used to convict the perpetrator.
Weapons testing, or ballistics, is another aspect of forensic science. Ballistics is the science of understanding how a gun was used at the scene of the crime. Individuals with knowledge of ballistics can tell you how many shots were fired, where the shooter was standing when he or she fired their weapon, and even if a victim was shot at point blank.
A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help Disprove Forensics
If you have recently been charged with a crime in which forensics are bound to be used as evidence, it would in your best interest to hire an Orlando criminal defense attorney right away. Forensics are extremely accurate, and if they prove that you were at the scene of the crime, or that you were responsible in any way for illegal activity, they could put you behind bars for a significant amount of time. At the Baez Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys can analyze the evidence brought against you, and come up with a viable defense that may lessen the charges or get them dropped completely. If you suspect that you may be in hot water, contact our criminal defense team today at 800-588-BAEZ.