FBI Laboratory Biometrics Analysis Section Case Acceptance Guidelines

This policy details biometric testing capabilities and provides guidance on what the Biometric Analysis Section (BAS) will accept for serological, DNA, and latent print analysis. For unit specific guidance, please see the DNA Casework Unit (DCU) and the Latent Print Operations Unit (LPOU) Case Acceptance Policies. 
The BAS will accept cases from:  

  1. FBI Field Offices and legal attachés, other federal agencies without specific biometric capabilities (e.g. Bureau of Indian Affairs, DEA, USSS, IRS), and United States Attorney Offices. 
  2. International law enforcement agencies through FBI legal attachés in matters involving US citizens.  If the case does not involve a US citizen, the legal attaché should contact the Evidence Management Unit prior to submittal to determine eligibility.
  3. State or local law enforcement agencies if the requested examinations have not been previously conducted on the evidence and the submitting agency does not have access to a specific biometric capability.  The contributor should discuss with the appropriate BAS unit(s) prior to submission.  If the evidence arrives at the Laboratory Division prior to the contributor obtaining authorization from the appropriate BAS unit(s), EMU will contact the unit(s) prior to sending the evidence on for examinations. 

General guidance on BAS (serological, DNA, and latent) evidence submissions: 

  1. It is recommended to limit the number of items submitted to only the most probative evidence to facilitate faster processing. If more than 10 items are submitted, the BAS may only examine up to 5-10 items per case in order to provide the timeliest customer service possible.  Additional examinations will be done only if the case scenario warrants additional testing or if the results of testing provide little investigative value.
    a. Ammunition (live or spent) collected as part of a non-violent crime will not be accepted for forensic analysis.  This includes ammunition collected as part of felon in possession cases, safe street task forces, gang related search warrants, or other similar non-violent crimes.  Exceptions can be made but these will be made on a case-by-case basis and require the approval of the Unit Chief or designee. 
  2. Occasionally, the FBI Lab requires additional information from the submitting agency in order to commence or proceed with exams (e.g. permission to consume evidence in order to maximize the chance of obtaining results, clarity of request etc.)  The BAS will contact the contributor by phone and/or email once evidence is received and if additional information is required.  For the timeliest service to be achieved, communication should be made with the BAS as soon as possible.  After 30 days of failed contact, the case will be discontinued and returned.
  3. Cases with trial dates will only be accepted if all of the evidence, including the appropriate known DNA reference samples, is received at least 60 days prior to the scheduled trial or if statutory speedy trial dates apply.  This 60 day minimum only pertains to cases involving DNA or Latent Print examinations. If additional examinations are being requested by other Laboratory Division Units, additional time will be required. 
    a. Latent print records check testimony requests will only be accepted at least 30 days prior to the scheduled trial.   
    b. The BAS cannot guarantee to meet other deadline dates including but not limited to: grand jury deadlines, indictment deadlines, discovery deadlines, or preliminary hearing dates.   
    c. All requests from the contributor for expedite processing requires Laboratory Division AD approval.   

General guidance on BAS (serological, DNA, and latent) Historical/Cold Cases:  

  1. For historical/cold cases where the FBI Laboratory has previously conducted analyses, please contact the Evidence Management Unit (EMU) at 703-632-8360 prior to submitting any additional evidence.  Based on the details surrounding the new submission of evidence, EMU and the BAS will work conjointly to review the case file to determine if any additional examinations will be conducted.  In general, for state/local cases, evidence will only be accepted if a specific technology or technique is not offered at the state/local laboratory.  
  2. For historical/cold cases in which the FBI Laboratory has not previously conducted latent print, serological and/or DNA analyses, please contact the Evidence Management Unit (EMU) at 703-632-8360 prior to submitting evidence.  Acceptance by the BAS will be limited and the same case acceptance guidelines apply.  For cases where work was done elsewhere, all applicable lab reports must be available to determine acceptance. 
  3. Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) is the use of commercial DNA tests and publicly available DNA databases to build family trees and identify potential subjects or Unidentified Human Remains.  At this time, the BAS does not perform laboratory work for this investigative tool.  However, if the FBI Lab previously performed DNA examinations in a case, we will provide a case file review to identify which, if any, samples are suitable for FGG testing.  Please direct questions to FGG Program Manager, Jade Gray at 703-632-7927 or ForensicGenealogy@fbi.gov.

Last updated: October 2021