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Colorado bill would collect DNA for misdemeanor crimes

Being convicted of a misdemeanor crime in Colorado can carry some stiff penalties, depending on the crime. Now, the consequences of being convicted of a misdemeanor may soon become harsher.

A proposed bill in Colorado wants to allow the state to collect DNA samples from those convicted of misdemeanor crimes. This means that people convicted of drunk driving, shoplifting and other minor offenses would have their DNA in the state's database forever.

Current Colorado law allows law enforcement to collect DNA samples from people arrested or convicted of a felony offense. Supporters of collecting criminals' DNA say that it helps solve thousands of crimes and it makes the state safer by allowing police to solve unsolved crimes. Supporters also say that DNA samples not only helps solve crimes but it can help exonerate innocent people accused of crimes.

The proposed bill would allow law enforcement to take a cheek swab of DNA from anyone convicted of a misdemeanor in Colorado. The DNA samples would be sent to the state to test and add to their database, where law enforcement constantly screen to see if new DNA matches up with old DNA collected from unsolved crimes.

While the proposed bill has many supporters, not everyone thinks the bill is a good idea. In addition to having people convicted of minor offenses have their DNA stored in the state's database forever, it would also increase the size and cost of the database.

Reports show that in 2012, 42,727 people were convicted of misdemeanors in Colorado. That would significantly increase the number of DNA samples stored in the state's database.

If the proposed bill is passed, many people will be impacted by the law. Individuals who have been arrested for a misdemeanor crime should consult a criminal defense attorney to protect their rights. It will be even more vital to work with an attorney if this law is passed because your DNA will be collected and stored in the state's database and could end up haunting you down the road.

Source: 9 News, "Bill would require DNA for misdemeanors," March 5, 2013

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