Texas may be passing a law that allows arresting officers to collect DNA samples from those arrested for violent crimes like rape and murder.
Back in 2001, Texas was the first state in the country to pass a DNA collection law. It required that DNA be taken from those arrested for certain felony offenses. Since then, other states have gone on to enact broader laws, including some states that require DNA samples from any arrest. However, Texas has been lagging behind when compared to other states. This looks to be changing with House Bill 1399.
Texas House Bill 1399
Texas House Bill 1399 will require anyone arrested for violent crimes like assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, robbery, etc. to give a DNA sample. Under current legislation, you can be asked for a DNA sample, but officials have to get a judge to issue an order to do so. The new law would allow the DNA sample to be taken immediately upon arrest, making it a more efficient process. The DNA collected would be submitted to a national database to match against samples from unsolved crimes.
The Senate passed the bill, but there were some amendments made. The Texas House will need to sign off on the changes before it is passed on to the Governor’s office to either sign into law or veto. The amendments addressed what to do if someone is arrested but not convicted of a crime. If passed, it would require that officials destroy the DNA evidence and remove it from the database in the event there is no conviction. This aligns with federal law, as well.
The original bill also included DNA collection for all felony arrests, but it was narrowed to only add 16 more felonies and excludes arrests for crimes like driving while intoxicated or drug crimes.
DNA Testing in Court Cases
Capturing DNA samples from offenders has proven effective in solving numerous unsolved cases around the country. Some rape victims were able to see their rapists arrested and convicted thanks to the national database.
However, if you have to give a DNA sample and it is claimed to be a match to another case in another jurisdiction, do not immediately despair. There are plenty of examples where the DNA results were wrong, or the technicians reading the data misinterpreted the most basic of samples. Do not necessarily accept that there is no way for you to fight the results if you are accused of committing a different crime that you had nothing to do with.
This is where the expertise of a knowledgeable Travis County criminal defense attorney can be helpful. When you retain an attorney, he or she will work to prepare the best defense possible. This is why it is important to retain an attorney when you are first arrested. Your attorney needs as much time as possible to gather evidence and build a strong case.
Contact an Austin Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a felony in Travis County, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Granger and Mueller PC today at 512-474-9999 to schedule an initial consultation.