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Principles of Forensic DNA for Officers of the Court

Obtaining an Evidentiary Sample From an Arrestee

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An arrested individual also may have evidentiary DNA evidence on his or her body or clothing. For example, fingernail scrapings may contain DNA from the victim. The method of collecting such a sample must comply with same constitutional requirements that apply to obtaining an arrestee's DNA sample.

If the evidence is on the suspect's clothing, or otherwise can be obtained without intruding into his/her body, it may be permissible to seize it without a warrant. 10 However, if the sample can be obtained only by bodily intrusion, a warrant is required, absent exigent circumstances. 11

To avoid a legal challenge, police may choose to secure a court order or warrant to ensure that the seizure of such evidence is constitutional. 12

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