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DNA Database

The DNA Database Section is responsible for the receipt, processing, and analysis of DNA samples collected from convicted felons and certain arrestees under state law. The DNA profiles are then uploaded to a database called CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System. When a hit is made to the database, this section works to confirm the hit. It also handles expunging eligible arrestee profiles upon request.

Processing DNA Samples

The Section receives approximately 25,000 DNA database samples each year collected by law enforcement across the state. With each sample, law enforcement databases are used to verify that the individual was convicted or arrested for an eligible offense. All eligible samples are then analyzed, reviewed, and uploaded to CODIS, a national DNA Database administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Confirming a CODIS Hit

As convicted offender and arrestee DNA profiles are uploaded to CODIS, routine searches of the database are performed. A “hit” occurs when an unknown DNA profile matches an offender or arrestee DNA profile in the database.

North Carolina’s DNA database currently includes more than 380,000 DNA profiles, including approximately 300,000 from convicted offenders and 50,000 from arrestees. Each year the section obtains 500 to 700 hits that serve as investigative leads in solving crimes.

Here’s what happens when a CODIS hit occurs:

  • The offender or arrestee sample is reanalyzed to confirm the DNA profile.
  • The offender or arrestee’s fingerprints are verified and their criminal history is assessed.
  • We notify the law enforcement agency working the investigation.
  • The law enforcement agency then has probable cause to collect a known DNA sample from the subject.
  • The known DNA sample is submitted and analyzed, and a report is generated.

Expungement Processing of Arrestees

The DNA Database Section processes expungement requests submitted by District Attorney’s offices for arrestees. Under state law, the subject’s DNA profile and sample shall be removed from the State DNA Database and Databank if:

  • The charge has been dismissed.
  • The subject has been acquitted of the charge.
  • The subject has been convicted of a lesser-included misdemeanor offense that does not require a DNA sample under the law.
  • No charge was filed within the statute of limitations.
  • No conviction has occurred, at least three years have passed since the date of arrest, and no active prosecution is occurring.

When an expungement request is received, multiple criminal justice databases are used to determine whether the request will be approved or denied. Following a legal review, if the request is approved, the arrestee DNA profile is removed from CODIS and the arrestee DNA sample is destroyed. A notification letter is then sent to each arrestee explaining the outcome of their request. The DNA Database Section processes on average approximately 7,800 expunction requests each year.

Fore more information, please contact the Crime Lab.