Since the beginning of the mainstream use of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) testing in criminal cases, how that DNA can be stored, maintained, and used as evidence in trials has been subject to fierce debate. The use of DNA has become a privacy issue because the genetic sequence of DNA is unique to each person. Being able to store, maintain, and use DNA data has allowed otherwise “cold” cases to be reopened and solved. For some, being able to find some closure in such cases has been significant. On the other hand, some view the taking and storing of genetic information as an invasion of their person. In addition to the invasion, taking a genetic sample is akin to theft because it is their unique code. The Protecting DNA Privacy Act aims to protect an individual’s privacy concerning their genetic code while also maintaining the interest in addressing crime and receiving medical treatment.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys In Florida
The Protecting DNA Privacy Act as a law is very new. However, there are new categories of offenses where DNA collection, storage, and use as evidence will be closely scrutinized. As with all recent legislation affecting court cases, it is important to remain aware of those changes. However, if you or someone you know has been charged with an offense involving DNA, it is important to act quickly to retain a lawyer. An experienced criminal defense lawyer follows the law as it develops to better represent clients. The attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices remain aware of the ever-changing legal landscape to represent you and your interests in your case. For more information about the DNA Privacy Act or if you want to schedule an initial case consultation, call us or visit us at our website, www.klo-attorneys.com.
Protecting DNA Privacy Act
In general, the protecting DNA Privacy Act makes the unlawful use of DNA a crime. The Act covers a few different circumstances where DNA collection occurs and dictates how that data is stored and maintained. Apart from medical diagnosis and treatments, the rules set forth by the Act will control any occasion where DNA is acquired. The Act has several important provisions relating to the consent to DNA collection and use, as well as penalties for the misuse of DNA.
To comply with the Act, DNA collection must be performed with express consent. Under the Act, express consent consists of two factors: documented consent to DNA collection and affirmative action, which demonstrates that the individual agreed to the DNA’s use. This means that to establish express consent, there must be written consent from the individual providing a DNA sample or from their guardian, and some affirmative action that demonstrates they agree to participate in the collection, sampling, and testing of their DNA. In the case of a doctor collecting DNA for medical treatment, the patient must generally provide their consent by signing a legal document that includes an agreement to consent to the DNA collection. As for affirmative action, these could be future consultations with the doctor. However, to establish express consent, both written consent to the collection, sampling, and testing of the DNA, and an affirmative action to demonstrate the person’s consent must be proven.
Protected Collection And Use
The Act establishes that anyone who unlawfully collects or shares genetic information without consent is subject to criminal penalties. However, there are several situations where DNA sampling is legal and protected. This means that these situations are exceptions to criminal liability, as established by the Act. These situations include:
- Criminal prosecution or other legal processes,
- Medical diagnosis or treatment, or
- Research under federal law, including HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
The Act outlines several instances where violation of DNA privacy will result in legal consequences. Cases where an individual can be criminally liable include submitting a person’s DNA for analysis without express consent, disclosing DNA test results without express consent, and selling or transferring a person’s DNA sample or results without express consent. If anyone does these things with your DNA or your test results without your express consent, they may be subject to prosecution with varying degrees of severity.
Improper Submission And Analysis
If another person submits your DNA for testing or analysis without your express consent, they can be subject to a third-degree felony. In this case, a third-degree felony comes with punishments of up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and five years of probation.
If another person discloses your DNA test results without your express consent, they can be subject to third-degree felony penalties. Penalties for third-degree felony disclosure are the same as for improper submission and analysis mentioned above.
Improper Sale Or Transfer
If your DNA sample or test results are sold or transferred without your express consent, the violator can be subject to second-degree felony penalties. These penalties include up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Hiring A Criminal Defense Attorney In Florida
If you or someone you know has been the victim of Protecting DNA Privacy Act violations, it is important to act quickly to protect your rights and interests. With an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, you can rest assured that your rights and interests are protected. The attorneys at Koberlein Law Offices have a combined 70 years of experience handling criminal defense cases. They understand the legal processes involved with your case and will help you achieve the best result. For more information on the Protecting DNA Privacy Act or to schedule an initial case consultation, call us toll-free at 877-556-2889 or visit us at our website today.