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DNA Sampling Following a Criminal Conviction in New York

There are many reasons why a criminal conviction–even when the crime is a misdemeanor– can have a lifelong impact. It is no secret that those with a criminal history have a harder time finding work, obtaining loans or other forms of credit, and leasing housing. What you may not know is that the State of New York will include a sample of your DNA in their database after nearly any criminal conviction.

New York’s DNA database one of nation’s broadest

Every American state collects DNA samples from individuals convicted of at least some crimes. Most states limit the crimes for which they gather DNA samples. For example, New Hampshire gathers DNA samples from those convicted of any felony, sex crime misdemeanor, and misdemeanors that arose from an offense against a child, and Texas gathers DNA samples only from those convicted of felonies or sex crime misdemeanors.

In 1996, New York began operating a DNA database of samples of genetic material from convicted criminals. Over the course of decades, the state continually expanded the number of criminal convictions for which it required a DNA sample from those convicted. In August of 2012, New York became one of only two states in the country (the other being Wisconsin) where DNA samples are gathered from persons convicted of nearly every misdemeanor or felony. Those convicted for the first time with certain fifth-degree marijuana possession misdemeanors are exempted from this requirement. New York also exempts children involved in matters before the Family Court, as well as youthful offenders.

Uses of database expanding

As states across the country grow their DNA databases, many have also expanded the ways in which the databases are used. So far, ten states across the US now use databases of DNA samples from those convicted of a crime to conduct familial searches. When conducting a familial search, law enforcement officers who find an unknown DNA sample will search the database for similar DNA samples. If a similar sample is found and it appears that the unknown and known individuals could be related, law enforcement will reach out to the person with similar DNA and request additional samples for testing. New York State lawmakers are considering implementing similar uses of the voluminous New York State DNA databank. If you have concerns about the potential privacy infringements caused by such a database, you’re not alone. The best way to prevent your most intimate personal identifying information from being included in the DNA database is to avoid a conviction altogether.

Get Help from Experienced and Dedicated New York Criminal Defense and Civil Rights Lawyers

If you’re facing charges for a misdemeanor or felony in New York and need dedicated, aggressive representation before the court, contact the Goshen criminal and civil rights defense attorneys at Dupée & Monroe for a consultation on your case, at 845-294-8900.

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