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Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court

If Property Is Taken, Will It Be Returned and in What Condition?

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Photo of a woman's t shirt with a purse, wallet, and old 1990's cellphone on top
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Personal property may be needed because biological material from the perpetrator might be present on those items. Because DNA profiles may be obtained from items of evidence that are decades old, law enforcement may retain unanalyzed evidence indefinitely. Items of evidence that have been analyzed for DNA will generally only be returned once the court process is final.

State laws may require that the victim's property be returned.

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