Law on Collecting DNA Upon Arrest Takes Effect in WI

New DNA Law Starts in WI

A new state law is taking effect that greatly expands the collection of DNA samples by law enforcement officials.

Beginning Wednesday, local police will be required to take DNA from anyone arrested for a violent felony and send the sample to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The agency won’t process the samples until a judge finds probable cause that a crime was committed.

Previously, DNA samples were taken only from convicted felons and sex offenders.

The DOJ expanded its Madison crime lab and hired more staff to handle tens of thousands of additional samples.

The agency already collects about 12,000 DNA samples from convicted felons annually.

It expects to receive 25,000 samples from felony arrests and 43,000 samples from misdemeanor convictions this year because of the new law.  

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