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Identification and body samples

If you’re charged with a criminal offence, the police may take:

  • identifying particulars (eg photographs, fingerprints, palm prints, voiceprints etc.)
  • a DNA sample.

These must be destroyed within a reasonable time if you’re found not guilty, or if the arrest or charge doesn’t continue (with some exceptions).

If you’ve been asked to provide identifying particulars  or a DNA sample and you’re not sure if you have to, get legal advice.  

In some situations you may also need to provide other body samples to the police for testing. Get legal advice.

Identifying particulars

A person’s identifying particulars include:

  • palm prints
  • fingerprints
  • handwriting
  • voiceprints
  • footprints
  • a photo of the person’s identifying features (eg a photo of a person or their scars or tattoos)
  • a measurement of any part of the person’s body (other than their genital or anal area, buttocks—or for a female—their breasts).

The police may take your identifying particulars if you’re charged with an offence (except for some minor offences).

The police may take your identifying particulars if you’re arrested  or you may be given a Notice to Provide Identifying Particulars within 7 days.

If you’re given a Notice to Provide Identifying Particulars, you’ll need to go to a police station and let a police officer take your identifying particulars. If you don’t give these details when needed, you may be charged with a further offence.

If you’ve been charged with a very minor offence and you’re worried about complying with the notice, get legal advice within the 7 day period.

A court can also make an order for your identifying particulars to be collected in certain situations.

Generally, your identifying particulars should be destroyed within a reasonable time if:

  • your arrest or charge doesn’t continue, or
  • you’re found not guilty of the offence.

They won’t be destroyed if:

  • you’re being investigated or charged with another offence
  • you’ve previously been found guilty of another offence, or
  • you’re found unfit for trial because of a mental illness.

If you need to provide identifying particulars, or have any concerns or questions about providing these details get legal advice.

DNA samples

If you’re charged with a serious offence, the police can take a DNA sample from you—even if you don’t agree.

A DNA sample may be taken by an authorised police officer, a doctor or a nurse by making you use a mouth swab or by taking a sample of your hair.

Results can be kept in a Queensland and Commonwealth database.

Generally, your DNA sample and results get destroyed within a reasonable time if:

  • your arrest or charge doesn't continue
  • you’re found not guilty of the offence.

Your DNA sample won’t be destroyed if:

  • you’re being investigated or charged with another indictable offence
  • you’re found unfit for trial because of a mental illness.

If you're asked to give a DNA sample and you don't want to, get legal advice.

Identification parades

The police may ask you to take part in a ‘line-up’, which is also known as an identification parade. You don’t have to participate if you don’t want to, but it can’t take place unless you agree.

If you’re asked to take part in an identification parade, get legal advice.

Alcohol and drug testing

A police officer may ask you to provide a breath, saliva, blood or urine sample for testing if they suspect you’ve committed:

  • particular driving offences while intoxicated (ie drunk) or
  • particular offences involving violence while intoxicated in a public place within the last 3 hours.

Other testing

There are other situations where you may be required by the police or by court order to provide samples for testing. Get legal advice.

Do I need legal advice?

  • have been charged with an offence and are going to court
  • have been asked to take part in an identification parade
  • have been asked by the police or ordered by a court to provide other body samples for testing
  • have been asked to give a DNA sample or identifying particulars and you don't want to do it.

How to get legal advice

We may give legal advice about providing identifying particulars or body samples to the police or the court.

If you’ve been charged with a serious offence , you should apply for legal aid, or find a private lawyer, rather than wait for a legal advice booking.  

The following services may be able to give you legal help and advice.

Community legal centres give free legal advice and information on criminal law. Contact them to find out if they can help.

Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private lawyer for advice or representation on criminal law matters.

Who else can help?

These organisations may be able to help. They don’t give legal advice.

Queensland Police Service Headquarters investigates complaints about police misconduct and breaches of discipline. This internal complaints process is monitored by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

Crime and Corruption Commission investigates complaints about official misconduct, even where the original complaint has been made to Queensland Police. The organisation monitors the police internal complaints process and can take over investigations if necessary, but does not handle complaints about police misconduct directly.

Queensland Courts provides information about the:

  • Supreme Court
  • Court of Appeal
  • District Court
  • Magistrates Court
  • Coroners Court
  • Childrens Court of Queensland
  • Land Court.
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