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New York State law requires, with some limited exceptions, that the police take one’s fingerprints when one is arrested for (1) a felony; (2) a misdemeanor defined in the New York State Penal Law; (3) a misdemeanor defined outside the New York State Penal Law if the misdemeanor would be a felony because the individual has a prior criminal conviction (For example, a first time DWI is a misdemeanor found in the Vehicle and Traffic Law – not the Penal Law – and therefore one arrested for a DWI is not subject to mandatory fingerprinting.

However, a DWI can be charged as a felony if the individual has a prior DWI conviction within the previous ten years. In such a situation, the individual would be subject to mandatory fingerprinting); or (4) Loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution under Penal Law 240.37(2)(which is a violation unless the individual has a prior conviction for violating Penal Law 240.37(2), Penal Law 230.00 (Prostitution) or Penal Law 230.05 (Patronizing a Prostitute in the Second Degree) in which case a violation of Penal Law 240.37(2) is a B misdemeanor.) [See CPL 160.10(1)].
Furthermore, the police may fingerprint an individual they arrest for any offense if the police (1) are unable to ascertain the individual’s identity; (2) reasonably suspect the identification given by the individual is not accurate; or (3) reasonably suspect that the individual is wanted by law enforcement for the commission of another offense. [See CPL 160.10(2)].

For more information about this or other criminal law issues, feel free to contact us toll free at 1-888-ANY-CRIME or visit us on the web at

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