DNA Sample Requirement in CA Child Molestation Charges Does Not Violate Your Fourth Amendment Rights – PC 296
California law pursuant to Penal Code Section 296 (PC 296) requires you to provide DNA and other identifying evidence if you are convicted, adjudicated as a juvenile, or found not guilty by reason of insanity for any felony crime. In fact, just being arrested for a registerable sex crime also triggers this requirement.
California voters in November 2004 passed Proposition 69, the “DNA Fingerprint, Unsolved Crime and Innocence Protection Act,” to expand and modify state law regarding the collection and use of criminal offender DNA samples and palm print impressions.
According to the courts, this law does not violate your fourth amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.
Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want to share with you a recent decision in the Court of Appeal that upheld the law, sending a defendant convicted of child molestation to prison for a very long time…
People v. Lowe (Case No. D059007, California Court of Appeal, December 4, 2013)
Between 2003 and 2006, Justin Samuel Lowe was investigated for multiple crimes, including burglary, forcible sex crimes and robbery allegedly committed in Riverside. In October 2006, while under arrest for one of the sex crimes, a DNA profile of the defendant was obtained from a buccal (inner cheek) swab sample taken from him without a warrant.
In July 2010, a jury convicted Lowe on all charged counts, including three counts of forcible oral copulation on a minor under 14 (Penal Code Section 288a (c)(2)). He was sentenced to a determinate term of 15 years, eight months plus a consecutive indeterminate term of 107 years to life in prison.
He appealed, challenging the court’s denial of his motion to suppress the swab DNA evidence.
How Did the Court Rule?
The court held that the 2004 Amendment authorizing the mandatory and warrantless collection and analysis of buccal swab DNA samples from felony arrestees does not violate the Fourth Amendment. The court concluded that denial of Lowe’s motion to suppress the evidence was proper and affirmed his convictions.
The Court reasoned:
“[W]e are persuaded that DNA collected, used, and retained under the amended DNA Act is substantially indistinguishable from traditional fingerprinting as a means of identifying arrestees and, incidentally, tying them to criminal investigations. As the King court recently observed, [b]y the middle of the 20th century, it was considered ‘elementary that a person in lawful custody may be required to submit to photographing and fingerprinting as part of routine identification processes’ (King, supra, 133 S.Ct. at p. 1976). Thus, [p]erhaps the most direct historical analogue to the buccal swab DNA technology is the familiar practice of fingerprinting arrestees” (Ibid).
What Does this Ruling Mean?
If you are charged with a registerable sex offense under Penal Code Section 290, or convicted of any felony crime, the police do not need a warrant to obtain DNA evidence from you. It’s just like being fingerprinted, according to the courts. Your Fourth Amendment rights have not been violated and the evidence can (and most likely will) be used against you during prosecution.
Call Wallin & Klarich if You are Facing CA Child Molestation Charges
If you have been accused of a crime and the police take DNA samples from you, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Wallin & Klarich right away. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience representing our clients accused of registerable sex crimes requiring you to submit DNA evidence samples.
If you are facing a non-sex related felony, you cannot be forced to give DNA samples to law enforcement without a lawfully obtained and executed warrant.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been able to help our clients successfully defend against serious criminal charges, including registerable sex crimes. We will make certain that all of your rights are protected. We will get you the best result possible in your case. You don’t have to go through this alone.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.