If you’ve watched the FBI Files, CSI, or the Cold Case Files, you’re probably familiar with how DNA evidence has become a powerful law enforcement tool. With advances in DNA technology, law enforcement agencies across the nation are requiring offenders to provide a sample of their DNA when they have been charged with certain crimes.
So, the question is, if you’re charged with DUI in Orange County, will you be required to give a sample of your DNA? It depends – more on that in a minute.
VALUE OF DNA EVIDENCE
With the exception of identical twins, no two people share the same DNA. This means that DNA evidence that is collected at a crime scene can later be used to link a suspect to a crime, but it can also exonerate them. DNA evidence that comes from saliva, hair, skin tissue, blood, and semen can be recovered from a crime scene and linked to another crime scene and the same perpetrator, even if the crime was committed in a different state.
PROPOSITION 69 IS PASSED
The government has found that the majority of violent criminals have prior convictions for nonviolent crimes. Not only that, but when people commit crimes, the crimes tend to escalate as the offender becomes more sophisticated and gains confidence.
Law enforcement has learned that most cold hits are missed if a DNA database is only limited to violent crime offenders. Because of this, on November 2, 2004, voters passed California Proposition 69, which requires DNA samples to be collected from all adult and juvenile felons, and people who’ve been arrested or charged with specific crimes.
Under Proposition 69, the DNA samples of all felons are submitted to the state’s DNA databases, even if the crimes were nonviolent, for example, a felony DUI.
ARRESTED FOR FELONY DUI?
If you are arrested for a misdemeanor DUI, you will not be required to provide a DNA sample. However, if you are facing felony charges, you will be required to give a sample of your DNA, even if you are never convicted of the offense.
The sample is submitted to a crime lab where the DNA is analyzed and entered into a database where it can be compared to the DNA of millions of other profiles derived from evidence found on victims’ bodies, and other evidence found at crime scenes.