Use of DNA Testing by Private Labs

Posted by Josh Valentine | May 06, 2019

Recently, DNA testing submitted to private crime labs has been used to solve cases by the FBI and state agencies. In some cases, DNA submitted by relatives that you did not consent to testing by the government has even been used to investigate and solve crimes.

Cold Cases and DNA Testing

Many cases have remained unsolved for many years due to lack of evidence. When a case has gone unsolved for months or years, it is often called a "cold case."

Many cases are now being solved based on DNA evidence that was not tested at the time the original investigation was conducted. Many individuals have been exonerated based on DNA evidence and later retesting as well.

Third Party DNA Testing

A recent trend in DNA testing is requesting a DNA test from a private lab to determine your genetic background. In some cases, this evidence has been used to solve crimes. Some of the major DNA testing labs have been disclosing information gained from DNA testing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This is a fairly recent issue that has not been litigated in many courts. Some companies now allow individuals who request DNA testing to opt out of their information being shared. 

Consent to Testing and Fourth Amendment Concerns

If you have released your DNA to a private lab for testing, you may have a lowered expectation of privacy regarding the results than the general population. Keep in mind that the use of this technology is fairly recent. It is possible that you may be able to contest the use of the results of a test if you have been accused of a crime.

If you are considering requesting a DNA test, speaking to an attorney before you request testing can help you understand your rights. Even if you have not been accused of any crimes, the concern that private testing labs will share information with the Federal government has become widespread. 

DNA Testing and Evidence for Paternity and Custody Cases

If you have requested DNA testing for a paternity or custody case, ensure that you are completing testing according to what was required by the court. In some cases, private lab testing will not be accepted as evidence in custody cases. Admissibility of evidence is a question that will be determined by the judge in your case. 

In criminal cases, a DNA test may be used to develop information to request a warrant for your arrest so that police and prosecutors can obtain further testing. If you are concerned about how your DNA information could be released, contact a lawyer right away. Speaking to an attorney before you have signed any release forms will assist you in understanding what you are agreeing to regarding the release of your results.

DNA testing facilities have recently been challenged for sharing the results of their tests with the FBI. Hopefully, this never happens to you, but if it does, speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your concerns right away.

Contact a North Carolina Law Firm

Do you have questions about DNA testing and how it could impact your case? Contact Caulder and Valentine for further information or schedule a consultation by calling (704) 470-2440 or fill out our online form

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar