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Are fingerprints enough to convict?

Most Memphis residents have heard of using fingerprints to catch a criminal. Many people have their prints on file with the police department. But are fingerprints actually enough to convict a person of a crime? For those facing an arrest this can make the difference between being innocent and having a criminal record.

It may seem like everyone uses fingerprints and promptly arrests someone because of that information. But fingerprints alone may not be enough to bring a conviction against someone accused of a crime. Fingerprints have different patterns on them for each person and they can be unique. There are ridges, swirls, arches, and other unique identifying features. Even though fingerprints are unique to the individual it takes a person skilled in fingerprint analysis to make sure the fingerprint is processed correctly. Fingerprints are usually not left in a perfect condition as they can be smeared or just partial prints. In a fictitious case up to 20% of fingerprints were wrongly identified.

When a person is facing a criminal charge it can feel like the whole world is against them. An attorney skilled in criminal defense can help a person feel like they are not alone. They can investigate the charges against their client, how the arrest was made and what evidence the prosecution has. They have the experience to know how the evidence may not be reliable and can negotiate with the prosecution.

A criminal record can stay with a person forever and ruin their good reputation. It may help those facing criminal charges to have a good criminal defense lawyer who is able to tell their side of the story.

Source:, "Fingerprint evidence is compelling but not always foolproof", Kevin Dietz, March 2, 2015

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