New Jersey is considering demanding DNA samples from people convicted of less serious crimes.

 

Current law requires those convicted of violent crimes to submit a DNA sample for the state's database.

A measure sponsored by Sen. Nick Sacco would extend DNA sampling to convicted disorderly person's offenders who already are required to be fingerprinted.

"It's the next step," he said. "It's very similar to what New York is doing. It's time for New Jersey to do it to try to solve a lot of unsolved crimes and also possibly to free up people who are in prison who shouldn't be there."

The bill reflects a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that DNA testing of criminal offenders is reasonable, said Sacco, D-Hudson.

He does not expect the additional testing would significantly increase the government's costs because offenders who have the means would have to pay for the test.

The Senate Budget Committee unanimously passed the legislation and it now goes to the full Senate for consideration. It's still awaiting action in the Assembly.