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Fingerprint evidence does not always prove a criminal charge

Most Virginia residents have heard of using fingerprints to catch a criminal. Many people may even have their prints on file with law enforcement. But are fingerprints actually enough to convict a person of a crime? For those facing a criminal charge, understanding this evidence could make the difference between them being innocent and having a criminal record.

Shows on television make it appear as though fingerprints are all that law enforcement needs in order to arrest and convict a person of a crime. But fingerprints alone may not be enough to bring a conviction against someone accused of a crime. Even FBI agents, considered experts in the field of fingerprinting, have made mistakes in fingerprint analysis during important cases.

Fingerprints have different patterns for each person and are generally considered to be unique. The identifying characteristics that experts examine are ridges, swirls, arches and other unique features. Even though fingerprints are unique to the individual, it takes a person skilled in fingerprint analysis to make sure the fingerprint is processed and evaluated correctly. Additionally, fingerprints are usually not left in a perfect condition as they can be smeared or contain just partial prints. All of these factors can be the cause of an incorrect identification.

When a person is facing a criminal charge, it can feel like the whole world is against him or her. A Virginia attorney skilled in criminal defense can help a person feel like he or she is not alone. Such an attorney can investigate the charges against his or her client, how the arrest was made, and evaluate the prosecution's evidence. After reviewing these details, an attorney will be in the best position to discuss the various legal options available to his or her client.

Source: clickondetroit.com, "Fingerprint evidence is compelling but not always foolproof", Kevin Dietz, Accessed on Nov. 9, 2016

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