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Bill would increase collection of DNA from convicted felons

Readers may be aware of the serious penalties tied to some criminal convictions. For example, those found guilty of a violent crime in the state of North Carolina, could, among other things, face time behind bars. In addition, some must also provide DNA samples to authorities for entrance into a database maintained by the state.

Those who currently face this consequence include people who have been convicted of among other things, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder. Currently, approximately 10,000 DNA samples are taken annually.

Some North Carolina legislators are seeking to expand the group of individuals subjected to DNA collection. If passed, Senate Bill 351 would make DNA collection mandatory for more than 30 additional crimes, all of them violent felonies. This would increase the number of samples collected annually by around 4,000. The bill would also provide the funding necessary to pay for equipment and DNA technicians needed to address the uptick in samples being taken.

Those in favor of the law cite safety as the catalyst since it could result in additional criminal charges and possibly convictions of individuals whose DNA matches samples collected in conjunction with unsolved crimes.

There is no question that the penalties associated with felony convictions can be harsh. If this bill is passed they will become even more serious. Since the average resident of North Carolina is likely unprepared to deal with the criminal justice system it is fortunate that they can turn to a criminal defense lawyer for assistance. The earlier in the process a meeting occurs, the better.

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