DoI have to let the court fingerprint me on the day of my first hearing if I’m be entering a not guilty plea?

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DoI have to let the court fingerprint me on the day of my first hearing if I’m be entering a not guilty plea?

I was arrested for possessionof marijuana. I was pulled over, they searched my car and found 2 half smoked joints. I am in court today to enter a non-guilty plea but don’t have an attorney. I am also an undocumented student. No prior arrests, charges or even traffic stops. The police couldn’t fingerprint me on the day of the arrest because their machine was broken. Should I let them fingerprint me in court? Is there a reason to reject or deny their request for my fingerprints?

Asked on July 13, 2011 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The answer to your question is yes--you have to let them fingerprint you. People have no right to refuse to be fingerprinted. In the first place, your fingerprints, like a photograph of you, is considered a public, not private, facet of your life; the police do not a warrant to fingerprint you, because you do not have a privacy interest in your fingerprints. Second, even if you had some privacy interest  or expectation in your fingerprints, the police would, in this situate have ample grounds or bases to fingerprint you. So whether or not it would be better for you to not be fingerprinted, you have no right to say no or refuse to allow the police to do this, unfortunately.


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