Do you have to provide DNA when arrested?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2019 | Violent Crimes |

Getting arrested in Missouri is not a good situation to begin with, but once you are under arrest, you may be subjected to uncomfortable situations. These include strip searches, fingerprinting and DNA collection. You may wonder about the last thing. Can your DNA be taken after an arrest? Yes, it is perfectly legal for law enforcement to collect your DNA upon arrest, according to NPR.

The U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling that you can have your DNA taken if you are arrested on a serious crime. Law enforcement may then put your DNA into a national database to see if it matches any unsolved crimes in the system.

Those opposed to allowing DNA collection feel it is a violation under the constitutional right against search and seizure. However, the Supreme Court felt this is no different than fingerprinting or photographing upon arrest. They felt this does not represent an unreasonable search or seizure, which is what the Fourth Amendment protects you against.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court labeled DNA as a modern fingerprint. It can help to solve cold cases and ensure the right person ends up convicted of a crime.

You do not have to be charged with a crime to have your DNA taken. A simple arrest provides the leeway law enforcement needs.

Prior to this ruling, collecting DNA upon arrest was not legal. Cases that were proven based on DNA collected in this manner were thrown out on the basis of constitutional right violation. This information is for education and is not legal advice.