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Many criminal cases in Oregon focus on DNA evidence

In Oregon, police rely on DNA evidence to solve many crimes, including non-violent property crimes.

Criminal charges rely heavily on evidence and more cases in Oregon involve using DNA evidence to get convictions. DNA testing laws have come under fire across the country for collecting and storing DNA from people arrested for criminal offenses.

People arrested for a crime in Oregon will not have their DNA collected and stored. However, state law requires DNA to be collected and stored for all felony convictions. This means defendants convicted of felony charges will have their DNA collected and stored in CODIS, a DNA database that is used by local, state and federal crime labs to help solve crimes.

Felony crimes can include a wide variety of offenses, including theft and property crimes. Burglary and other property crimes are commonly solved by testing DNA evidence found at the scene of the crime. Statistics show that Oregon’s crime labs find a match in CODIS in 48 percent of non-violent property crimes in the state due to DNA evidence at the crime scene.

One burglary case in Oregon was solved after police collected DNA evidence from an orange juice container left in the kitchen after a home was robbed. The DNA ended up matching a man from Portland, who later confessed to the crime when detectives questioned him about the burglary.

DNA collection could lead to other charges or prove innocence

DNA samples are usually collected by an oral swab. Since DNA can only be collected after a felony conviction, DNA is often collected at state prisons or by parole or probation officers. Once the DNA is collected, it is stored in a database where it will be shared with several law enforcement agencies that may be searching for a match to a particular crime.

In Oregon, the statute of limitations for most criminal offenses is three years. This means that after three years, law enforcement officials can no longer charge someone for the offense. However, some criminal defense attorneys may be able to use new DNA samples in CODIS to prove that certain convicted offenders did not commit the crime and should not have been convicted based on new evidence.

Even though DNA is not collected and stored after being arrested for a criminal offense, a felony conviction will result in DNA being stored in CODIS. This not only affects a person’s privacy rights but could also lead to other criminal charges in the future if he or she is linked to a crime scene.

Individuals in Oregon arrested for a felony offense should contact a criminal defense attorney to understand the charges they are facing and the impact a felony conviction could have on their DNA being collected and stored in CODIS.

Keywords: DNA, evidence, burglary, property crimes

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Mark C. Cogan, P.C., of Portland, Oregon, represents individuals charged with crimes throughout Oregon, including central Oregon, northern Oregon, Pacific Coast communities and the Willamette River valley, including Clackamas County, Washington County, Multnomah County, Columbia County, Marion County, Tillamook County, Clatsop County, Lincoln County, Lane County, Linn County and Benton County and the cities of Salem, Lake Oswego, Gresham, Oregon City, Tigard, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tualatin, Milwaukie, West Linn, The Dalles and Clackamas.

© Mark C. Cogan, P.C., 2016 - 2017.