Texas has maintained a DNA database since 1995. The purpose is to help them identify possible offenders in crimes that have been committed.
When can they take DNA?
Texas law enforcement may take DNA when:
- They have arrested, and are booking, a person who is suspected of committing sexual assault or other sexual crimes.
- They have arrested, and are booking, a person suspected of committing a felony.
- A person who has already been convicted of a crime and is a prison inmate is the subject of a court order.
- A person who has already been convicted of a crime and is a prison inmate is convicted of murder, aggravated assault, or a sex offense that requires them to register as a sex offender.
Note that law enforcement is not required to wait for a conviction in these cases, and there is no way to refuse. You will be required to take a cheek swab. In addition, these mandatory collections are applied to both adults and juveniles in the appropriate cases.
Laws are being proposed which would mandate the collection of DNA samples for anyone arrested for a Class B misdemeanor or higher. The stated reason is that it is the “most reasonable and effective means to accomplish effective crime solving in Texas.” These groups also estimate that 69% of those arrested are usually repeat offenders.
DNA collection and testing is not all bad. It has been the primary tool in exonerations for wrongful convictions since the technology was first introduced.
There’s also good news in all of this. If you are not charged, if the charge you’re convicted for no longer qualifies for the compulsory collection of a DNA sample, or if you are found not guilty in court, then the State of Texas automatically movies the DNA from your database and the sample is destroyed. State law also prohibits the release of any DNA profiles, which means they can’t be used for paternity tests or to violate your privacy in other ways.
While your lawyers cannot keep the police from taking DNA in certain cases, we can try to help you reduce or eliminate your criminal charges. If you’re in trouble, don’t trust your case to overworked public defenders. Reach out to the expert team at Greco Neyland.
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