PHOTOGRAPHS & FINGERPRINTS

Dallas Criminal Lawyer

Dallas Criminal Lawyer | Fort Worth Criminal Lawyer 

When a juvenile is taken into custody or referred to the juvenile court on a felony or jail able misdemeanor, law enforcement may fingerprint and photograph the child without the consent of the juvenile court.  The Family Code provides five ways for the police to obtain photographs of a juvenile:

  • With the consent of the juvenile court
  • When a juvenile is taken into custody for a felony or jailable
  • As part of an investigative temporary custody
  • With written consent of the juvenile’s parent or guardian
  • To identify a juvenile who is believed to be a runaway

Destruction or Forwarding or Photographs and Fingerprints

There are two instances in which juvenile photographs and fingerprints must be destroyed:

  • When the photograph or fingerprint was obtained through a temporary investigative custody under Section 58.0021, and no match was found; and
  • When the juvenile is not referred to the juvenile court within 10 days of obtaining the photograph or fingerprints.

The deadline for this destruction is the end of the year.  Law enforcement must forward the resulting records, fingerprints, to the statewide Juvenile Justice Information System if the child is referred to juvenile court on or before the 1oth day after the date the child is taken into custody.

Gang Records

Juvenile gang records are another exception to the general rule that a parent or guardian must consent in writing to photographing or fingerprinting of a child who is not in custody.  Law enforcement may compile and release criminal information about a child who is associated with a criminal street gang regardless of the child’s age. Criminal information includes facts, material, photographs, or data reasonably related to the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.

When a juvenile is entered into a gang database, the child’s criminal information does not stay there indefinitely.  Texas law requires that the information be removed after two years if:

  • The information relates to the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity engaged in by the child; and
  • The child has not been arrested for criminal activity that is reported to DPS or taken into custody for delinquent conduct that is reported to the Department of Public Safety.

The two year period does not include any period during which the child is committed to TYC for felony conduct or confined in TDCJ.

Blood and DNA

Under Family Code Section 54.0409, juveniles who are placed on probation for commenting certain felony offenses are required to submit a DNA sample.  The qualifying felonies include those listed in Code of Criminal Procedure Article Section 42.12, Section 3(g), for which adult offenders are ineligible for probation, and felonies involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon during commission of the offense or during immediate flight from committing the offense.