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Legally Taking DNA From a Suspect; the ISBA Tells You

Question: Under what circumstances may police legally take a DNA sample from a suspect?

Answer: Under a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling, police can now procure DNA samples from people in connection with a violent crime, without obtaining a warrant, and despite a finding of guilt in a court of law. The Supreme Court ruled that taking a person's DNA through a cheek swab is like taking fingerprints or a photo and is a minor intrusion to a person under arrest. Until now, DNA testing was allowed only if a person was convicted of a crime. All DNA results are entered into a database and automatically checked for matches. DNA has been used with incredible accuracy to identify criminals as well as exonerate those who were wrongly convicted of a crime. For more information about Illinois law, visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.comIf you have a legal question, send it to Illinois Law Now is a series of newspaper and internet posts prepared by the Illinois State Bar Association that address legal issues of interest to the public. For additional information about the law, visit


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