General Assembly weighs DNA collection bill

RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- The Virginia State Crime Commission has recommended expanding the list of crimes that require a convict's DNA sample.

It's now up to lawmakers in Richmond to expand DNA collection to include more misdemeanors, which includes assault and battery, domestic assault and shoplifting.

Last week, the parents of slain UVA student Hannah Graham spoke before the Commission. They think their daughter's life could have been saved if DNA had been collected from her killer.

Opponents of the measure argue that such an expansion would disproportionately affect minorities. It could also strain the budget.

DNA samples are already collected for some misdemeanor convictions. Most of those crimes are sex-related. But the list also includes resisting arrest and stalking.

All convicted felons must submit their DNA. People arrested on felony charges must provide a sample as well. Their DNA remains in the database only if they're convicted.

Law enforcement officials often compare DNA recovered at crime scenes with state and national databases.

The General Assembly is expected to take up the bill next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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