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Southern Indiana Officials Support New Law Requiring DNA Samples for Felony Arrests

Indiana Senator Erin Houchin recently drafted Senate Enrolled Act 322, requiring those accused of a felony to provide a DNA sample at the time of their arrest. Simplified, this new law requires that anyone arrested for a felony to submit to a DNA swab and, if probable cause for the arrest is upheld, for the sample to be entered into the State’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Act 322 was singed into law the week of April 17, 2017, and goes into effect January 1, 2018. Currently, police officers are required to obtain a warrant to collect a DNA sample from an arrested individual, or wait until said individual is convicted. According to Houchin, lawmakers have filed bills to widen the scope of DNA collection in the past, however, this specific bill is different.

Houchin claims that there is research which, “suggests that serial offenders commit seven or eight additional crimes before they’re caught, so if their DNA is taken when they are arrested of a felony, we may prevent future crimes.” In addition to attempting to prevent serial offenders from repeatedly committing heinous crimes, the bill also includes provisions in the case of an individual being acquitted.

Anyone who is required to submit to a DNA sample must be notified of their rights at the time of their arrest. In regards to Act 322, an arrested individual must be informed that if felony charges aren’t filed within 365 days of a person’s arrest, the county prosecutor would be responsible for having the DNA sample expunged.