DNA Expungements

How to get your DNA records removed (expunging DNA records) from the military’s database?

Expunging DNA records from military databases is critical for privacy reasons. If you or a loved one served in the military and were accused of a crime, there is a chance the law enforcement agent collected your DNA for the investigation. But what happens to that DNA sample?

The DNA sample is collected by the agent and sent to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). CODIS is run by the US Army’s Criminal Investigatory Laboratory (USACIL). The DNA is stored and used in future law enforcement investigations. The record is also accessible by other federal agencies.

person holding a swab and test tube glass as part of expunging DNA records

How to Petition for Expungement?

Each military service allows service members and veterans to request their records be expunged from CODIS if they were not convicted of any offense by general or special court-martial, or if former service members who can provide a certified copy of a final court order documenting the charge has been dismissed or resulted in an acquittal, may request their DNA records be expunged. (DoDI 5505.14: pg 14-15).

So, if a military law enforcement agent (NCIS, CID, OSI, Military Police, etc.) collects a DNA sample from a service member as part of the investigation, the service member can request the sample be destroyed if they accepted non-judicial punishment or the command directed the case go to an administrative hearing instead of a court-martial. This is powerful because most cases do not end with a court-martial conviction. Instead, many cases end with an NJP or ADSEP Board.

The process to expunge DNA records appears straightforward. The procedures are detailed in Department of Defense Instruction 5505.14. But if you want the best chance to ensure your DNA is removed from a giant government database, schedule a call today to discuss your options.