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Fingerprinting and DNA Samples

Reference Number: MTAS-402
Reviewed Date: 09/24/2021

Law enforcement agencies are required to make a full set of fingerprints of each person arrested for an offense that results in incarceration or posting bond. Two sets of prints must be sent to the TBI if the agency maintains fingerprints manually. The TBI keeps one set and sends the other to the FBI. T.C.A. § 38-3-122, T.C.A. § 8-8-201(35). Departments that send fingerprints electronically must maintain with the arrest report one hard copy of the fingerprints and acknowledgment from the TBI that the electronic copy has been received and accepted. When a person is arrested repeatedly for public intoxication, the officer must note that fingerprints are on file. Sanctions for failing to comply with the fingerprinting requirements apply only to fingerprints taken on or after July 1, 1999, and are imposed on the agency conducting the fingerprinting.

Prior to purchasing fingerprinting equipment, local departments are required to obtain certification from the TBI that the equipment is compatible with the TBI’s and the FBI’s automated fingerprint identification system. T.C.A. § 8-4-115, T.C.A. § 39-17-420.

The arresting authority must take a biological sample for DNA analysis from any person arrested for certain violent felonies. The sample must be taken after determination by a magistrate or grand jury that probable cause exists for the arrest but before release. T.C.A. § 40-35-321.