Evidence in DC Gun Cases

One of the most common types of evidence in DC gun cases is witness testimony. Law enforcement officers or a civilian witness who saw the use of a firearm in a crime may give these statements. If the accused is not permitted or licensed to possess a weapon, a prosecutor may use their lack of proper documentation or certification as evidence against them.

An attorney may also use forensic evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints, to link the defendant to the firearm. Forensic evidence typically is used to prove that the defendant had access to the gun in question when they are not found directly holding or carrying the firearm. A skilled defense attorney understands the type of evidence that may be used against a defendant in a gun investigation and could build a case to contest a prosecutor’s argument.

How Authorities May Gather Evidence

Law enforcement may gather evidence by requesting a subpoena signed by a judge to collect records or documents that may otherwise be unavailable. Generally, an organization is required to cooperate in producing the requested documentation, unless there is a specific exception.

Officers collect witness testimony questioning and gathering information from individuals at the scene. A detective or investigator may follow up with these witnesses to determine if they have any additional information. They may also try to find other people who were present when the incident occurred. For forensic evidence, the police use crime lab technicians who can conduct tests with samples from the scene to determine if there is any connection between the firearm in question and the defendant.

Interpreting Proof in Gun Cases

Depending on the type of proof that attorneys and investigators collect in a DC gun offense case, there may be room for interpretation of that evidence. For instance, if a case involves forensic evidence, it may be varying degrees of reliability. Generally, DNA is scientifically-reliable, meaning that when there is a match between a sample from the crime scene and the accused, this connection demonstrates a degree of certainty.

However, there is still room for interpretation as to how the sample was retrieved or how the DNA ended up on the gun in question. Therefore, just because an individual’s DNA was found on a gun, does not mean the person held it or used it to commit a crime. Depending on the amount of DNA and where the investigator found the gun, their DNA may have been transferred to the firearm. If a gun was found in someone’s home or their car, then their DNA could have gotten onto the firearm through other means without this person holding or carrying it.

Other types of forensic evidence are much less scientifically-reliable, such as fingerprint analysis and matches, and do not meet the standards needed in criminal court. There is ample room for interpretation of any alleged fingerprint match. Eye-witness testimony may also be unreliable, especially if an attorney establishes that there were distractions at the time of the incident that could affect that person’s ability to perceive and recollect evidence.

Even if there is an alleged confession by the defendant, there may be room for interpretation. An attorney could argue that the statement was made involuntarily or under duress. Additionally, the defendant could have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time they gave their statement, and therefore, legal counsel may claim that this confession should be dismissed because of their impairment.

What Types of Evidence May an Attorney Collect?

One of the main types of evidence a DC attorney may focus on in a gun case is eye-witness testimony. This testimony may be directly exculpatory that indicates that someone else committed the crime or that no offense was committed. The testimony could contradict testimony from government witnesses, and call into question the credibility or reliability of those statements.

A defense attorney may also collect forensic evidence. The rules of evidence require the defendant and their legal team to have the opportunity to do their own testing on any tangible proof.

Therefore, if the prosecutor conducts their own testing and establishes that there is certain fingerprint or DNA evidence, the defense attorney may preform their an examination as well. This lawyer’s evidence could show that there is a connection to another individual or it could contradict the prosecutor’s analysis, calling into question the reliability of their evidence.

The strategy used by a defense attorney depends on both the type of evidence and how the prosecutor uses that proof. Sometimes, the evidence is used to directly support an alternative defense theory, meaning that the crime never occurred, that someone else committed the offense, or that the defendant was in another location at the time of the incident and therefore is not guilty. Other times, the defense’s evidence may refute the prosecutor’s evidentiary support by calling its reliability into question.

Because the government has the burden of proving the case, if the defense can show that their evidence is unreliable, this may result in an acquittal and not-guilty verdict. The defense does not have to offer independent evidence in support of the defendant’s innocence.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss Evidence for Gun Cases in DC

A person should bring a few things to their meeting with an attorney after being charged with a gun offense. As with any type of criminal case, any paperwork that the person has from the court or from police is important to bring.

Other things that a person should bring: any information about the incident, any names and contact information of any other people who were there who might be witnesses or can provide information that may be helpful in the case, and any paperwork or documentation related to the firearm in question and to the defendant’s right to possess a firearm.

If you have been accused of committing a firearm offense, you should contact an attorney immediately. A legal representative could explain how different types of evidence in DC gun cases work and how they could build a case in your defense using this proof. To get started on your case, call today.