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North Carolina law provides for expunction of DNA records and samples (see Table 8). Article 13 of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes (G.S. 15A-266 through G.S. 15A-270.1) authorizes the taking of DNA samples for some offenses following conviction and for some offenses at the time of arrest.

For DNA samples taken following conviction, G.S. 15A-148 authorizes expunction of the samples and associated records following a final order of an appellate court reversing and dismissing the conviction or following a pardon of innocence. For DNA samples taken on arrest, G.S. 15A-266.3A requires the prosecuting district attorney to seek an expunction, without request, if any of the grounds for expunction in that statute apply.[1]

 

Table 8. DNA Records

Matters Subject to Expunction

Principal Restrictions on Expunction

Applicable Statutes and Forms

  • DNA records and samples taken from person convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity for offenses listed in G.S. 15A-266.4(b) if
    • final order by appellate court reversing and dismissing conviction of offense, or
    • pardon of innocence
  • Expunction order does not apply to DNA required to be in the state’s database based on other offenses
  • DNA records and samples taken on arrest of person for offenses listed in G.S. 15A-266.3A if
    • charge was dismissed;
    • person was acquitted;
    • person was convicted of lesser misdemeanor for which taking of DNA is not required;
    • no charge was filed within any statute of limitations; or
    • no conviction has occurred, at least three years have passed since the date of arrest, and no active prosecution is occurring
  • Expunction order does not apply to DNA required to be in the state’s database based on other offenses
  • Expunction order does not apply to physical evidence obtained from a sample if evidence relating to another person would be destroyed

[1] G.S. 15A-146(b1) and (b2) also provide for expunction of DNA records following dismissal of a case by the trial court. These provisions were added in 2001 by S.L. 2001-282 (H 884) and, at the time, were the only provisions addressing expunction following dismissal of a case at the trial level. (The act repealed G.S. 15A-266.10, which had allowed expunction of DNA records under the general provisions in G.S. 15A-146.) G.S. 15A-266.3A now authorizes expunction of DNA samples taken on arrest if either a court or district attorney dismisses the charges. Unlike G.S. 15A-146, G.S. 15A-266.3A does not contain a prior conviction bar to relief. G.S. 15A-146(b1) and (b2) may still offer an avenue for relief in the limited instance in which a person has DNA samples taken following conviction and the case is dismissed following a post-conviction proceeding. If construed literally, G.S. 15A-148 and G.S. 15A-266.3A may not cover that situation because the first statute requires an appellate court order of dismissal and the second statute applies to DNA samples taken on arrest.