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When can the police take my DNA?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

Many criminals leave a trail behind when in the act of breaking the law, and sometimes DNA is among the detailed evidence. However, the acceptance of this evidence is often done too readily for Washington criminal defense attorneys to actually accept its admissibility. Prosecutors too often want to “trust the science” because it gives them an opportunity for a conviction when a jury can be convinced they indeed have the criminal identified. The problem for them is that the evidence may not necessarily be used when acquired improperly.

Rules of evidence acquisition

Police are commonly eager to solve crimes even when they have minimally acceptable types of evidence. Even though a crime may be of a serious nature, such as murder, rape, or physical assault, merely obtaining evidence from the scene violates proper legal protocol. A warrant is now necessary to obtain DNA both from the scene and as an order from the judge to test a defendant, and failure to follow the process exactly can result in a technical case dismissal after a criminal law attorney’s request.

Recent SCOTUS ruling changes DNA acquisition

There are specific instances when police can take the DNA of a suspect or defendant. However, the old rules of following suspects around or accessing DNA analysis performed for other purposes have been ruled as unacceptable by the U.S Supreme Court in Carpenter v. United States. This gives the possibility for a case dismissal.

It is important for all defendants in Washington to understand that DNA evidence being used against them does not mean the state has an automatic conviction in the charge. The SCOTUS decision is assuredly a win for those falsely accused of criminal activity using DNA evidence.