Do you have to provide DNA when under arrest?
When an officer places you under arrest, you have certain rights granted by the U.S. Constitution that protect you against incriminating yourself or providing evidence that the prosecution could use against you in court. However, under New York law, officers can make you give a DNA sample when they arrest you for a crime deemed a felony. This sample goes into a database that law enforcement around the country can check to look for a match to crimes they are trying to solve.
This may seem like a violation of your rights, but The Pew Charitable Trusts explains that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it is not. With this ruling, it remains legal despite those who oppose the practice, and there are quite a few groups who speak out against it. On the other hand, there are many fierce supporters, as well.
Those who believe DNA collection is a good practice often cite how it is comparable to fingerprinting and mug shots. They say that it is just the next step due to technological advancements. They also point to the many cold cases or tough crimes that law enforcement has solved because of the DNA database and explain that it helps to prevent crime by catching repeat criminals early on and stopping them from continuing their crime sprees.
Those who oppose the practice feel that it is a form of self-implication. They also say that it removes the presumption of innocence because it treats you as guilty from the moment of your arrest.
Regardless of what people may feel, the practice of collecting a DNA sample during an arrest for a felony crime is legal in the state and backed by the U.S. Supreme Court. It helps to know this so that you do not end up in further legal trouble by trying to refuse to provide a sample.