DNA Collection From Felons in Minnesota

If you are convicted of a felony in Minnesota, you will be required to have a DNA sample taken.   Minnesota law requires samples from several different groups of people, which can in turn be broken down into two main groups:  persons convicted of felonies and persons being released from prison after serving a felony sentence.

Who provides a sample, and when?

Persons convicted of felonies, or who are released from prison after serving a felony sentence, must provide a DNA sample.  This also applies to juveniles who are adjudicated delinquent for committing or attempting to commit a felony. The distinction is that juveniles not found “guilty” instead are adjudicated delinquent.

For convicted felons, the sample is submitted after sentencing, and for persons who have served a felony sentence but not yet provided a sample, it would be done prior to release from prison.  Most of the time the DNA sample is collected immediately after sentencing.

Note that a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor but that misdemeanor arises from the same set of circumstances as a felony that the person was also charged with, the person is required to submit a sample.  What does this mean? If you charged with criminal vehicular homicide and the fantastic legal team at Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law office get it dropped down to a careless driving (still a crime but only misdemeanor) because the facts are the same you will have to submit a DNA sample.

Can they really require me to do that?

The short answer is yes.  Minnesota courts have found that laws requiring convicted felons to provide a biological specimen for the purpose of DNA analysis do not violate the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures; the idea is that the degree of intrusion upon a convicted felon’s privacy under the law is minimal in comparison to the benefits—things like deterring repeat offenders and identifying perpetrators of crimes– provided to the state.  The law allowing DNA collection after conviction of a misdemeanor arising out of the same circumstances as a felony has also been found to be constitutional.  However, you might be interested to know that a previous version of the felony DNA collection law, which required persons charged with (not convicted of) violent felonies, in certain circumstances, to also give a DNA sample was found to be unconstitutional because even if you’re charged with a crime you are still not guilty until a jury convicts you or you plead.

What happens to my DNA sample?

Samples are maintained by a state agency called the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which keeps a centralized data bank of DNA.  Submission of your sample is very permanent; even if your record is later expunged for the offense, your DNA records won’t be sealed or destroyed.   Unless you plan on going on a crime spree though, you probably don’t need to be too concerned the database just sits there and is crosschecked if the need to.

Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office
Mankato, MN

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