A new roadside fingerprinting device is being tested in Austin. Portable fingerprint scanners allow police to scan prints and submit them remotely, helping to identify suspects who are caught without identification.
This article from the Austin-American Statesman says that the devices will be used by about 100 officers beginning around the first of March. Officers will be trained in how to use the machines and more importantly, how to explain them to citizens.
Officers will be asking for consent to take a print if there is no identification present. Interestingly, a refusal could mean a trip to jail, as a lack of identification also often does.
For instance, if someone is pulled over for speeding and police find a small amount of marijuana, they can issue a citation to the suspect and release him. However, if there is no identification the officer can take the person into custody.
Civil rights organizations are voicing concerns over the printing devices, nervous that they carry a huge potential for abuse. Printing people prior to arrest enters a sort of grey area in civil liberties. Officers will have to be very careful in how they use the new gadgets and also how they explain to people their right’s regarding the voluntary submission of fingerprints.
Knowing your rights when confronted with an arrest is important. Often times they aren’t fully explained to you or you may not understand them. An experienced attorney is there to ensure you really understand what is going on with your case and seeks to help protect your rights.
If you are facing criminal charges or have questions about a current criminal case, call today.