DNA Database Expanded by the North Carolina General Assembly

The North Carolina General Assembly passed a new law this week that would expand the state’s DNA database by allowing police agencies to collect DNA samples from suspects when they are charged with certain crimes.

The bill authorizes law enforcement to hold people who refuse to give a sample. If charges are dropped or the suspect is acquitted, the individual’s DNA sample must be removed from the database.

“It’s a win for North Carolina citizens,” Cooper told WRAL News.

However, some lawmakers say requiring the sample upon arrest amounts to unreasonable search and seizure.

Rep. Rosa Gill, D-Wake, voted against the bill. She agrees that DNA is a useful tool in helping law enforcement solve crimes, but argues that obtaining samples from suspects who have not been convicted goes too far.

“I feel like it’s unfair. I think it may be a type of targeting that we don’t intend for it to be,” Gill said.

The problem with the law, as Rep. Gill argues, is that probable cause is a very low standard, and that many people are arrested who are, in fact, innocent of the crimes they have been alleged to have committed. By collecting DNA samples, the state engages in an invasive practice of creating a police state that contains detailed and personal information about people.

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Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.