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Post-conviction DNA collection in New York

People who are convicted of crimes in New York might face multiple penalties, including jail or prison sentences, fines, probation, community service, and others. Another consequence of a misdemeanor or felony conviction in the state is having your DNA sample collected for inclusion in its DNA databank.

When are people required to submit DNA samples?

While many states allow people who have been arrested or charged for enumerated offenses to have their DNA collected before a conviction, New York’s law does not allow DNA to be collected until and unless the person is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense. Once a person is convicted at trial or enters a guilty plea to a misdemeanor or felony, he or she will be ordered by the court to submit a DNA sample. No criminal defense strategy is available to avoid post-conviction DNA collection. The sample will be collected using a buccal swab, and the DNA profile will then be entered into the New York State DNA Databank. Individuals who are required to submit DNA samples will also have to pay a fee at the time of collection. If a person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense, he or she will still be required to pay the fee even though he or she will not need to submit a new sample.

How is the information used?

Law enforcement officers check the DNA Databank to look for DNA matches from other crimes. If an officer finds a match in the DNA Databank to an unsolved or new crime, the person whose DNA matches will then become a suspect in the new or unsolved crime and will likely be arrested and charged. The public cannot access the DNA Databank or use it for any purpose.

The mandatory collection of DNA samples from those who have been convicted of misdemeanor or felony crimes might raise privacy concerns for some people. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has found that DNA collection even before a conviction does not involve any Fourth Amendment issues. People who do not want to have to submit DNA samples for inclusion in the DNA Databank might need to vigorously defend against their charges and avoid convictions.