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DNA Databank expansion now in effect

The law expanding New York state’s DNA Databank by requiring anyone convicted of any felony or Penal Law misdemeanor to provide a DNA sample became effective Wednesday.

The new law also includes expanded access to DNA Databank comparisons for certain criminal defendants, allowing them to obtain DNA testing before trial or after a guilty plea to demonstrate their innocence. In addition, the law provides for greater access to discovery of evidence after conviction where innocence is claimed.

“New York is the first state to expand its DNA Databank so dramatically, once again leading the way for the rest of the nation,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. “This new law will enhance the effectiveness and fairness of the state’s criminal justice system by using this powerful technology to its fullest potential. This expansion will help solve and prevent crimes, bring justice to victims and prove innocence for the wrongfully convicted – and above all make our neighborhoods safer for New Yorkers.”

The law is not retroactive and does not apply to children involved in Family Court matters or to youthful offenders. In addition, first-time offenders convicted of low-level marijuana possession (Penal Law Section 221.10, subsection 1) will not be required to provide a DNA sample.