Pursuant to RCW 43.43.754, individuals convicted of certain crimes and juvenile offenses in Washington must give a DNA sample. Two juveniles recently challenged separate court orders requiring them to give DNA samples after they were granted deferred disposition. Each of the juveniles was charged with theft of a motor vehicle arising from separate incidents, with one of the juveniles having several additional charges. They each appealed and their cases were consolidated before the Washington Supreme Court.
In the lead opinion, the Washington Supreme Court noted that RCW 43.43.754 fails to define the meaning of “conviction.” The court also pointed out that the meaning of “conviction” is not clear in statutes involving juveniles. In such circumstances, the court must consider the context and purposes of the statute in interpreting what is meant by “conviction.”
The court first considered other relevant statutes. The court noted that juvenile adjudications finding guilt are considered convictions under the Sentencing Reform Act. RCW 9.94A.030(9). The court also concluded that standard and law dictionary definitions supported the definition in the Sentencing Reform Act.