Florida Legislators Poised to Make DNA Theft and Misuse a Felony
A pending bill would make it a crime in Florida to steal or misuse another person’s DNA or to conduct a DNA analysis without the individual's authorization.
In 2020, Florida became the first state to enact a privacy law in connection with DNA, prohibiting health insurance providers from using genetic tests for coverage purposes. The new legislation, SB 1140, would go further, establishing the following crimes:
However, the law would not apply to DNA samples collected in connection with a criminal investigation or as part of a determination of paternity.
DNA theft and misuse can occur in several ways, such as by taking DNA samples from a coffee cup or hairbrush and sending them out for testing, all without the subject’s knowledge or consent. In a recent high-profile Florida case, Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter and his wife are seeking punitive damages for alleged theft of their DNA by in-house counsel for a Chubb insurance subsidiary. The Perlmutters were sued for defamation by their Palm Beach neighbor for allegedly engaging in a “hate mail” campaign against him. They contend that during a deposition, their DNA was collected from water bottles and from exhibits they were asked to inspect and that the DNA was subsequently sent out for testing. A judge has allowed the couple’s DNA theft claim to move forward.
If the proposed legislation passes, DNA theft and misuse would also have criminal consequences, including jail and fines. If you have been accused of stealing another's DNA, it's imperative to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who can protect your rights and develop the best possible defense strategy in your case.
The Law Office of Roma W. Theus, II, P.A. handles a wide range of criminal defense matters in Florida and other locations across the country. If you have been charged with a crime or are being investigated by state or federal authorities, please call 954.281.4851 or contact me online for a consultation at my Wellington office.
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The Law Office of Roma W. Theus, II, P.A. is located in Wellington, FL and serves clients in and around Loxahatchee and Pahokee.
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