What do I do if the Police Want to Take my DNA in an Omaha Sex Assault Case?

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While DNA can be extremely important in some Omaha sex assault cases, it can be completely irrelevant in other cases.  As evidence, it may support a conviction or an exoneration.  In any case, if you are notified that the police want your DNA in a sex assault allegation, know that it may be a crucial piece of evidence that will be used against you at trial.

A Search Warrant for DNA Evidence

First, if police have a search warrant to take you DNA, you must provide it. When a judge issues a search warrant for a specific piece of evidence, you must comply with the police in their efforts to collect it.  The warrant must specify the scope of what police are allowed to collect. In addition, police in Omaha and other locations may use the DNA warrant as an opportunity to interrogate you. A warrant to take DNA does not prevent you from exercising your right to remain silent or your right to have an attorney present during questioning.

Your Right to Remain Silent

In one instance an Omaha police officer who suspected a man of sexual assault got a warrant to get his DNA. The police officer showed up at the man’s place of employment and took him to the police station where she took a DNA sample and interrogated the man for an hour. While the man’s DNA did not match the DNA found inside of the victim, the man said incriminating things during the interrogation and was arrested. Over a year later he was found not guilty of sex assault by an Omaha jury. While the DNA should have cleared him, it was his statements to police that got him into trouble. He could have declined during the process to answer any question.  A search warrant for your DNA only obligates you to comply with that request, not to submit yourself to interrogation without representation.

Submitting DNA Without a Warrant

Second, if police do not have a warrant, you do not have to provide a DNA sample. They may ask for your DNA by using words that imply that you have to provide it to them, but unless they have a warrant you can decline. This does not mean that you will never have to give them your DNA, as they may go get a warrant afterward. A good Omaha sex assault defense attorney will be able to help you navigate this situation to better protect your rights.

Will a Negative DNA Match Stop the Investigation?

No.  In one case, an Omaha man who was falsely accused of sex assault was excited to learn police wanted to take his DNA because he believed it would prove his innocence. The man was willing to provide his DNA without a warrant. Unfortunately, even though the DNA excluded him, the case still went forward to trial. Ultimately the man won his jury trial, but the case was not immediately dismissed after the DNA results came back from the lab as he had hoped.

DNA & Consent

In many historical instances, a convicted rapist’s DNA was key evidence at trial. But in cases where consent was the real issue, DNA evidence cannot tell a jury whether the accuser consented. In those cases, DNA may be much less important than text messages, social media posts, witness statements, and video evidence.

The take away lesson is that DNA may or may not be important to the case, but if police want your DNA in a sex crimes investigation, you may want to get a lawyer to better protect your rights.

Omaha Sex Assault Attorneys

If you have been contacted by police regarding an alleged sexual assault or been asked to provide a DNA sample to law enforcement, the dedicated sexual assault attorneys at Berry Law may be able to help. Contact our team today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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