New law to collect DNA from suspects

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Beginning tomorrow, law enforcement in North Carolina can collect DNA from suspects in certain violent felony and misdemeanor arrests. Opponents say it violates privacy rights.

A suspect’s DNA will be sent to the State Bureau of Investigation to be analyzed and uploaded to state and national databases.

The new law applies to anyone arrested for violent felonies and some misdemeanors, like stalking and cyberstalking. This is an addition to the old law, which only allowed DNA collection from those convicted of violent crimes.

Attorney General Roy Cooper strongly agrees with it, saying it will enable law enforcement to solve and prevent more crimes. North Carolina’s DNA database currently contains more than 200,000 profiles.

District Attorney Ben David says the new law will dramatically assist in solving cold cases.

“We have had cases in this very community; violent and brutal sexual assaults and murder cases that would have never been solved without the ability of agents and prosecutors to use the evidence collected at the scene to test against this CODIS database to see if there’s a hit,” David said.

Supporters of the law say taking these DNA samples from people when they are arrested is projected to help solve up to one hundred additional murders, rapes and other crimes in the first year.

Opponents, though, says it’s a violation of civil rights and due process.

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