Following an arrest, knowing and protecting your rights regarding DNA collection is necessary to ensure that police handle your case fairly and properly.
Even if an officer asks you to provide a DNA sample as part of your detainment, it is not mandatory to comply in every circumstance.
Crimes requiring submission
California law enforcement has the right to request a DNA sample following your booking for any felony offense. This evidence could become part of the case at hand, and police may also enter it into a database to link you to unsolved crimes or ongoing investigations.
When your arrest is for a misdemeanor, you generally have the right to refuse to provide DNA unless there is a specific court order requiring it. Additionally, the California Office of the Attorney General indicates that arrests not followed by bookings do not require the submission of samples.
Challenges to collection
Lawyers have challenged that mandatory DNA collection infringes upon an individual’s privacy rights and amounts to an unreasonable search. However, laws protecting this practice are consistently upheld as constitutional, both at the state and federal levels.
Consequences for refusal
If you refuse to provide a DNA sample upon a felony booking, prosecutors may use it against you in court. You could also face a misdemeanor charge that is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and as long as a year in jail.
Before you consent to give your DNA to law enforcement after an arrest, be sure you understand if it is a requirement to do so.