How to Get DNA Expungement
Request expungement directly from the California DOJ
The DOJ’s Streamlined DNA Expungement Application form is available online at https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/bfs/expungement_app.pdf?
(Note: this is the fastest and easiest way to get your DNA expunged)
If you meet all of the requirements for California DNA expungement, you should:
- Get and fill out the California DOJ’s Streamlined DNA Expungement Application form;
- Include the required documents to prove that you qualify for DNA expungement (the Application form will tell you which documents to include, since it will be different depending on your specific situation); AND
- Mail your completed Application form and all documents to the following address:
California Department of Justice
CAL-DNA Data Bank Program
Attn: Expungement Requests
1001 W. Cutting Blvd., Suite 110
Richmond, CA 94804
If you meet all of the requirements and have included all required documents, your DNA MUST be expunged from the California database. The process usually takes about 2-4 weeks for your DNA to be removed.
If your request for DNA expungement is denied, you can still file a new request for DNA expungement in court. (However, if your first request is denied, you may want to talk to a lawyer before filing a new request in court, since this may mean that you have another conviction on your record that disqualifies you from DNA expungement.)
Requesting DNA expungement in court
(Note: You can do this if your direct request to the DOJ was denied)
To request DNA expungement in court, you will need to:
- Get and complete the Petition for Expungement of DNA Samples & Profiles (form CR-185/JV-796);
- The form is available online at http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/cr185.pdf, or ask the court clerk for a copy (or where to get a copy) of the form.
What is a "Certified court order”?
You will need to get the court order from the federal court where your case was heard. The court order must be certified by the court clerk (meaning it is a true and accurate copy of the original court order), and must include enough personal information to identify you as the defendant in the case (including your full name, social security number, and/or date of birth). Both the judge and the clerk must sign and date the certified copy of the court order.
- File your form with the court clerk in the county where you were arrested or where your case was held;
- Serve copies of your Petition on the DOJ’s DNA Lab (CAL-DNA Program) and District Attorney in the county where you were arrested or where your case was held; AND
- Have a hearing before a judge. You will need to show that you meet all of the legal requirements for DNA expungement (described above), and it will be up to the judge to decide whether to grant your DNA expungement.
For more information about DNA expungement in California in general, see Getting Expunged or Removed from the CAL-DNA Data Bank on the California DOJ’s website at: https://oag.ca.gov/bfs/prop69/faqs.
If you meet all of the requirements to expunge your DNA from a federal arrest or conviction (PG. 1000), you must:
- Get a certified copy of the final court order from your case, with the following information:
- If you were arrested—The court order must show that NO charges were filed against you, or the charges were dismissed, or you were acquitted of the charges.
- If you were convicted—The court order must show that your conviction was overturned.
- Send a written letter to the FBI to ask that your DNA be expunged from the National DNA Index System.
- Include all of your personal information (including your full name, social security number, and/or date of birth).
- Include as much information as possible about your arrest or conviction (date or arrest or conviction; case or docket number; date of dismissal, acquittal, or overturning of conviction).
- Most importantly: Include the certified court order from Step 1!
- Mail your letter and the certified court order to:
Federal Bureau of Investigation
2501 Investigation Parkway
Quantico, VA 22135
Attention: Federal Convicted Offender Program Manager
- The FBI is required to expunge your DNA from the national database if you meet all the requirements and include the proper court order.
For more information on expungement of DNA from the national database, visit the FBI’s website on CODIS—Expungement Policy, available at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/biometric-analysis/codis/codis_expungement.
Cal. Penal Code § 299(c)(2). ↑
Cal. Penal Code § 299(c)(1). ↑
42 U.S.C. 14132(d)(1); CODIS—Expungement Policy, Expungement of DNA Records in Accordance with 42 U.S.C. 14132(d)(1)(A), The Fed. Bureau Investigation, http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/biometric-analysis/codis/codis_expungement. ↑