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How long do fingerprints last?
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How long do fingerprints last?

If someone touches a piece of paper, how soon do the police need to take fingerprints in order to find out who touched it last?

Assume no one else touches it in the meantime.


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Cin Reaper
Fingerprints are held in several data-bases forever.
Once they have yours, they're keeping them!

i think forever

Does not matter if prints are still there are not, the DNA is.

Becky T
a long time

Well, there are many factors involved!! Is the paper " under water" ? Is the paper, a newspaper so that the ink can affect the results??If you are referring to a regular piece of paper, are they actually able to take prints from paper . As far as I know, lifting fingerprints from paper can be done, depending on the oil from the fingertips. How long?? I'm not exactly sure of a definitive time frame.

California Street Cop
Depends on the exposure the prints have to sunlight/chemicals/weather/etc...

Hours, to days, to years.

Difficult to pull prints off of paper. But maybe you had ink or grease on your hand. Somebody stole my computer and printer. The cops couldn't pull a print off the paper they pulled out of the printer

Prints with body oils would be difficult to determine sequence of multiple prints.

Ink prints likewise after a couple of months.

Petroleum products will dry at slower rates depending on what material.

~Ashley Jean~
They can last for weeks if no smears it because eventually dust will cover the uniqueness of it.

It could persist for many years. The reason - acids and oils on your skin chemically alter the surface of the paper.

Somthings are better left unknown!

Krissa D
I warned you not to brake into that gass station!!! And yes the police will still find your finger prints on those dolor bills you stole.

It depends on the wear and tear that the paper had been subjected to. As long as the paper was kept in relatively good condition, and no one else touched it in the meantime, you actually aren't too bound with a time frame. Granted, it's in your best interest to process the paper as soon as possible (most agencies use ninhydrin), but fingerprints can be recovered from paper LONG after the print was left there. (Ninhydrin reacts with the amino acids left on the paper, so as long as the acids are present, you'll get a print)

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