Starting Jan. 1, those arrested on felony charges will have to submit DNA samples

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Starting next Monday, those arrested for a felony in Indiana will have to submit a DNA sample via a cheek swab.

The new requirement comes after the passing of Senate Enrolled Act 322, which was authored by State Sens. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) and Joe Zakas (R-Granger).

Previously, state law only allowed for the swab to be taken after a felony conviction. The sample will now be taken when the suspect’s fingerprints, photographs and other data are documented during the booking process.

The DNA profile will be run through the state’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and compared to other profiles in the database, only after a finding of probable cause.

If an individual is acquitted of all felony charges, the charges are lowered to a misdemeanor, or no charges are filed after one-year, the sample may be expunged.

“DNA profiling is an accurate, widely used tool that will help law enforcement solve crimes and convict those who are responsible,” said Houchin. “Since serious criminals often go on to commit numerous additional crimes before they are caught and convicted, the collection of DNA upon felony arrest will save lives. This legislation will give law enforcement the tools necessary to bring more criminals to justice for their crimes and bring peace to victims and their families, making Indiana an even safer place to live, work, and raise our families.”

Zakas echoed Houchin’s sentiments.

“Collecting DNA samples on felony arrests will help prevent serious crimes and can also be used to exonerate the innocent,” Zakas said. “This bill should improve our criminal justice system in a substantial way. I look forward to seeing the success this law will have.”

Indiana will become the 31st state to allow DNA samples to be collected and used to solve and prevent crimes. Similar laws have solved tens of thousands of crimes across the country, according to a release from Indiana Senate Republicans.

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