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How can forensic evidence impact a sex crime case?

Sex-related crimes can sometimes hinge on he-said-she-said evidence; however, there are some cases that include forensic evidence. This type of evidence can have a huge impact on the case, so it is important for people who are facing a sex crime charge that is based on forensic evidence to understand why this can be such a big deal. 

What is forensic evidence? 

Forensic evidence includes a variety of evidence types, including biological evidence. In the case of a sex crimes case, the biological evidence can be DNA evidence that is acquired from scrapings under the victim's fingernails, bodily fluids that are present, or other evidence like strands of hair that are found during the investigation.

How is this used in a sex crime case? 

In sex-related cases, forensic evidence is a way that the authorities can include or exclude a person as a suspect in the crime. For example, if a woman is raped, she may have semen that can be obtained if a rape kit is collected. When that semen is processed, a DNA profile is obtained. That can lead police officers to the person who committed the rape.

Can the defense fight forensic evidence?

It is possible for the defense to call DNA and other forensic evidence into question in several ways. One of these is to find out if the evidence was collected and processed properly. If there are any questions about how the evidence was handled, the defense can often use that information to call the forensic evidence into question. This can introduce reasonable doubt.

Scrutinizing forensic evidence and other points in the prosecution's case can be challenging. It is crucial to understand exactly how your case might be impacted by this type of evidence. 

Source: RAINN, "The Importance of DNA in Sexual Assault Cases," accessed Dec. 06, 2016 

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