Ohio Law Guarantees Post-Conviction DNA TestsJuly 1, 2015 | Written by Dan Margolis
Many people were convicted of a crime years, if not decades, before DNA evidence became a common part of criminal investigations. We have all seen many stories of people exonerated of homicide or other crimes thanks to a DNA test — after spending half their life behind bars for a crime they did not commit.
Despite these tests’ accuracy and ability to refute evidence presented at that supposedly “proved” the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, federal law does not guarantee convicts the right to request a DNA test post-conviction. After the U.S. Supreme Court arguably punted on the issue in 2009, Ohio lawmakers stepped up the following year.
They passed a law that entitles people convicted of a felony in the state to a DNA test. Those covered under the law include people:
- Currently in prison
- Out on parole
- On probation, serving community service or otherwise under a community control sanction
- On the sex offender registry due to the conviction
In addition, it is no longer necessary to file a lawsuit to obtain a DNA test.
While getting free from prison is a motivation for many post-conviction DNA test requests, an overturned conviction can have many benefits even if you are not currently behind bar. As suggested above, a test in your favor could end your parole or probation, fully restoring you your freedom. It could mean you no longer have to register as a sex offender.
If nothing else, an overturned conviction may give you the peace of mind of knowing that your name has been cleared.
In this situation, as with anything having to do with criminal defense, fighting for your rights is much easier with the help of a knowledgeable attorney.