New Supreme Court ruling vastly alters criminal defense

In what will likely become a landmark criminal defense case, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling today that allows police to obtain and analyze an arrestee’s DNA as part of routine booking procedures. The majority opinion considered a DNA cheek swab to be similar to fingerprinting or taking booking photographs. The dissent, however, was very vocal that while this may solve some crimes, it is still invasive.

The decision was 5 to 4, and this extremely close case will likely have very serious considerations on criminal defense in Minnesota. Now, if someone is arrested, even for the most basic of things and even if the arrest was based on falsified or fraudulent evidence, the arrestee can have his or her cheek swabbed and the DNA entered into a national database that has DNA information from both federal, state and local governments. Many are concerned that someone could be arrested for something extremely minor, like loitering, and end up facing serious criminal charges.

So what does this mean for Minnesotans? It means that, at least until someone questions the limits of this new decision, if someone is arrested, even for something as insignificant as loitering, that he or she will have his or her DNA information scanned an analyzed against every piece of known or unknown DNA in an attempt to link the arrestee to an unsolved crime. It is still somewhat unclear if this ruling applies to both felonies and misdemeanors, as the case before the court was in regard to s statute that allowed for DNA tests of those arrested for felonies.

Source: The Associated Press, “Court: Police can take DNA swabs from arrestees,” Jesse J. Holland, June 3, 2013

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.