If you watch crime shows on television or the big screen, you’ve probably heard all about deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, a powerful criminal justice tool that is used to solve crimes, especially those involving homicide and sexual assault.
“DNA can be used to identify criminals with incredible accuracy when biological evidence exists. By the same token, DNA can be used to clear suspects and exonerate persons mistakenly accused or convicted of crimes. In all, DNA technology is increasingly vital to ensuring accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system,” according to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ).
Why DNA Evidence Makes Defendants Nervous
Even though detectives and crime labs across the country applaud DNA evidence, some criminal defendants have quite the opposite reaction. The thought of providing a sample of their DNA scares them. They are worried that they can be convicted of a crime they committed a long time ago, in their youth. Or, they’re concerned that their DNA will get mixed up by someone in a lab coat and they’ll be convicted for some random cold case that had nothing to do with them – both fears are understandable.
Under Section 943.325 of the Florida Statutes, if you are convicted of any of the following offenses, you will be required to provide a sample of your DNA:
- Felony DUI,
- Any felony offense, even if it is not violent in nature,
- Stalking or voyeurism,
- Any gang-related crime,
- A sex offense that is classified as a misdemeanor
Sec. 943.325 reads: “It is the policy of this state to assist federal, state, and local criminal justice and law enforcement agencies in the identification and detection of individuals in criminal investigations and the identification and location of missing and unidentified persons. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the citizens of this state to establish a statewide DNA database containing DNA samples submitted by persons convicted of or arrested for felony offenses and convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses.”
Concerned about your DNA being collected? To discuss your case with a Miami criminal defense lawyer for free, contact my firm today.