Police officers and detectives dusting a crime scene for fingerprints is a familiar scene on TV shows and movies. In the modern world, it seems that alternatives like DNA profiling and other high-tech forensic processes have taken the forefront in identifying individuals associated with a crime. Still, due to the fairly straightforward process of matching prints from a crime scene to a defendant, fingerprinting can be a valuable tool in prosecuting criminals.
How Fingerprints are Matched
Matching fingerprints is not a complicated thing for police to do. It is based on two main ideas: First, the ridges on a person’s fingertips do not change. Second, no two people have the exact same pattern of ridges. The oils and sweat present on these ridges leave prints on flat surfaces that detectives can lift using special powders and chemicals.
After they are gathered, fingerprints are compared to databases of prints that have already been collected (the FBI has millions on file.) Computer enhancement can reconstruct a full print from a partial one. Other technological advancements are making fingerprinting more effective than ever before.
If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime and are facing criminal charges, it is important for you to understand the evidence that may be used by the prosecution in court. Contact the Appleton criminal defense attorneys of Hart Powell, S.C. at 888-565-7597 to discuss the details of your case and make sure your rights are protected.