The US Supreme Court has ruled that police can take a DNA sample without a warrant from someone who has been arrested and charged but not convicted of a serious crime.

In a narrow 5-4 vote on Monday, the court handed a victory to the state of Maryland by saying that taking DNA samples from suspects was similar to taking fingerprints.

Critics say the decision will lead to privacy violations and unreasonable searches.

Of the country's 50 states, 29 have laws that allow DNA samples prior to conviction in certain instances, as does the federal government. All 49 other states backed Maryland in the case.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports from Washington.

Source: Al Jazeera