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Firm Name Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer
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Is DNA Evidence Valid In Burglary Cases?


DNA evidence is one of the most important developments in forensic science in our lifetimes.  As of 2024, 575 wrongfully convicted people have had their convictions overturned after DNA evidence revealed that their DNA was not present at the crime scene.  We most often hear of DNA indicating a defendant’s innocence or guilt in cases involving murder or sexual assault, as DNA is abundant in bodily fluids such as blood.  All of your cells have DNA, though, even the skin cells that you shed everywhere you go, whether you realize it or not.  Is it really possible to convict someone of a crime just because a few of the person’s skin cells were in the same room where the crime happened?  It depends.  The presence of your skin cells at a crime scene just means that you went there at some point; it could have been a long time before or after a crime.  If police suspect you of burglary because they found your DNA at a location where a burglary took place, contact a Pennsylvania theft crimes defense lawyer.

Which Kinds of Evidence Matter in Burglary Investigations?

The crime of burglary occurs when someone forcefully enters another person’s property, such as a residence or place of business and steals money or other items.  Many burglaries occur when the legal owners of the property are not present; most burglaries of businesses occur outside of business hours, and there are no eyewitnesses.  Therefore, surveillance camera footage is often the most definitive type of evidence, if the business has surveillance cameras.  Likewise, if the police later find the stolen property in your possession, they can use this as evidence against you.  If DNA from your skin cells is present at the point of entry or elsewhere on the premises, the prosecution may also present this evidence to the jury.  DNA evidence by itself is usually not enough to convict a person of burglary, because it only shows that you, or even just an article of your clothing that someone else borrowed, has been on the premises before; it does not explain when or why.

In the News

In June 2023, Jamal Reid was arrested on suspicion of committing a series of burglaries that occurred between the summer of 2021 and the summer of 2022.  The burglaries occurred at stores that had installed gaming machines.  Surveillance camera footage showed Reid entering the businesses as a customer during business hours and playing games at the machines.  They also showed him breaking into the businesses after hours with a sledgehammer or crowbar and removing money from the machines, and in some cases, removing safe deposit boxes.  Police also found his DNA at the crime scenes.  After an investigation, Reid, 35, was charged with robbery, burglary, and conspiracy.

Contact Gary E. Gerson About Criminal Defense Cases

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are being charged with burglary based on DNA evidence or surveillance camera footage.  Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.


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