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.