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Criminal Resource Manual

251. Fingerprinting—Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment does not bar the fingerprinting of a properly seized person. "Fingerprinting involves none of the probing into an individual's private life and thoughts that marks an interrogation or search." See Davis v. Mississippi, 394 U.S. 721, 727 (1969). So long as the initial seizure of the person is reasonable, as in a lawful arrest, subsequent fingerprinting is permissible. It is also possible that the requirements of the Fourth Amendment could be met through "narrowly circumscribed procedures for obtaining, during the course of a criminal investigation, the fingerprints of individuals for whom there is no probable cause for arrest." See Davis v. Mississippi, supra, at 728; see also Hayes v. Florida, 470 U.S. 811 (1985).