Fingerprints And Body Samples Taken By Police

Depending on your age, there are different rules regarding fingerprinting. For information regarding the rules that apply to those under the age of 15, please consult Young people and the police.

The police can get your fingerprints if they think you committed an indictable crime, like shoplifting or assault, if you’re 15 or older.

A police officer must get a parent, guardian, or an adult (an adult) to be with you when you’re 15-17 to get your fingerprints. The police must also tape record or video record your fingerprinting if you’re 17 or younger. This person must be there when they get your fingerprints.

If you have a cognitive disability or mental illness the police officer must get an independent third person to be with you when asking for or taking your fingerprints.

For minor summary offenses like jaywalking or littering, the police can’t get your fingerprints.

Get legal advice if you don’t agree with the way the cop treated you. They can use force if you won’t give them.

Can the police keep fingerprints forever?

Fingerprints usually have to be destroyed after six months if:

  • You haven’t been charged with anything in that time
  • You’ve been acquitted.

It is possible to ask the police if they have destroyed your fingerprints. There are different rules applied to fingerprints taken from persons under the age of 18.

Body samples

Body samples taken from intimate areas can include the following:

  • blood, saliva or pubic hair
  • anal, genital or breast swabs
  • mouth or dental impressions.

Non-intimate body samples can include:

  • samples of hair
  • fingernail or toenail scrapings
  • some external body swabs.

A forensic procedure is used to obtain body samples. Forensic refers to doing a procedure in order to obtain evidence for use in court.

Can you say no?

The police may get a court order if you refuse to give a body sample. You can always say no to any body sample. You do not need to ask the court if you are suspected of committing a serious offense for a senior police officer to approve a non-intimate body sample (such as taking blood from a finger prick).

A court order is always required if you are under the age of 15. Senior police can approve taking a non-intimate body sample from you if they reasonably believe you have committed serious crimes, including carjacking, home invasions, and drug trafficking, if you are 15 or older. If a police officer takes a body sample from you, you must be accompanied by either your parent, guardian or independent adult.

An independent third person must be present when a police officer requests or obtains a body sample from someone with a cognitive disability or mental illness.

Driving and body samples

A blood sample may be required if you have been in a motor vehicle accident, as well as a mouth swab to determine if you have any illegal drugs in your system.

Before giving a sample of your body, you should always seek legal advice.


Doctors, nurses, and dentists should take intimate body samples, not police officers. If possible, the doctor or nurse should be the same gender as the patient if they are taking intimate samples (other than dental impressions).

During the collection of the body sample, the police officer must inform you that you are not required to answer any questions asked by the doctor, nurse, or dentist.

Non-intimate body samples can be taken by the police officer.

For how long can the police keep body samples?

In most cases, forensic samples must be destroyed after 12 months if:

  • In that time period, you have not been charged with an offense
  • It has been determined by a court that you are not guilty of the offense
  • If someone is found guilty of a serious crime, a DNA profile can be created through forensic procedures and permanently stored in a database.