Do Police Need a Warrant for a DNA Sample in Arizona?
Most people are understandably confused as to whether Arizona police can collect DNA samples with a search warrant. Arizona state government doesn’t exactly go out of its way to publicize the details of DNA collection performed by police. There are simply too many laws and legal nuances for the average Arizonan to keep track of. Fret not, as our legal experts are here to provide clarity.
DNA Samples in the Context of Police Search Warrants
The average Arizonan is aware that police must have a warrant to search a home. This warrant is a court order authorized by a judge that empowers police to look through the interior of the home for evidence that indicates a crime has been committed. However, a court order grounded through probable cause is not required for police to obtain DNA including hair fibers, fingerprints, etc.
It is possible for Arizona police to procure a court order to obtain physical evidence as well as characteristics with a standard of proof that is less than probably cause. If the police can prove to the judge that there are reasonable grounds that one’s physical characteristics will facilitate investigation, these agents of the state can legally detain a suspect for upwards of three hours to obtain such physical characteristics.
Examples of Situations When DNA Collection is Helpful
Consider a situation in which an Arizonan is sexually assaulted. A DNA specimen is required from the individual suspected of the assault. Police might attempt to obtain such a DNA sample to determine if the accused individual is guilty of the sexual assault. As long as police can provide reasonable grounds to the judge in order to compel the procurement of the suspect’s DNA, that DNA sample can be taken. Oftentimes, the DNA sample is taken through one’s hair follicles.
What About Blood DNA Samples?
Plenty of Arizonans question whether police are legally empowered to take blood samples without a search warrant. The taking of DNA, typically through hair fiber, is largely accepted as necessary in the quest for justice as it is a minimally invasive procedure. However, taking a suspect’s blood is comparably invasive. If there is an investigation into a serious crime such as murder, a search warrant will be required based upon probable cause to collect a blood sample.
If there is probable cause as opposed to reasonable grounds, a blood DNA sample can be taken. However, local courts in Arizona exhaust all alternative opportunities that are comparably less invasive including the possibility of taking a swab from the interior of the suspect’s cheek to obtain a DNA sample before resorting to a blood sample.
How to Proceed if the Police Give an Order to Take DNA
The sad truth is Arizona police as well as agents of the state throughout the rest of the country are using physical evidence orders that much more frequently. These orders are being used for cases involving major felonies as well as cases involving sexual assault. Police are clearly taking advantage of their extensive authority to arrest those suspected of crimes and use the three-hour window as an opportunity to convince the suspects that they should discuss the supposed crime in question in-depth.
Oftentimes, suspects participate in this process and end up falling into the trap of self-incrimination. Do not answer questions in such a situation. Instead, let your Arizona criminal defense attorney do the talking for you and you will stand that much better of a chance of retaining your freedom.
If Arizona police present a court order to take your DNA or blood, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A legal practitioner who specializes in criminal defense will fiercely defend your rights and advocate on your behalf.