Last week we discussed a proposed bill in Colorado that would greatly expand the scope of DNA collection in the state. Currently, DNA is only collected from those convicted or arrested on felony charges and it goes into the state’s DNA database. But under a new proposed law, people convicted of misdemeanors would also have to provide DNA profiles for the database. This bill points to a larger debate surrounding DNA collection on a national scale.
This bill is particularly timely because the Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of a different state’s law that requires DNA collection after any arrest. Proponents of the law say it is important in order to catch criminals and build a robust store of evidence. But civil liberties advocates argue that an arrest is not evidence of wrongdoing. Having someone’s DNA on file when they have not been convicted could be prejudicial in any later proceedings.
DNA evidence has several different uses in criminal proceedings. First, it may be used to link a criminal suspect to evidence at a crime scene, resulting in conviction. It may also be used to link a person to a past crime if their DNA is already in the database, helping to identify habitual offenders. In addition, it may be used to exonerate those who have wrongly convicted.
If you are being accused of a crime, it is essential to act decisively to make sure your rights are protected. Consider speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you review the charges against you, build a strong defense and pursue the best possible outcome in your case.
Source: 9News, “Bill would require DNA for misdemeanors,” Chris Vanderveen, March 5, 2013
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