Forensic Science Law and Legal Definition

Forensic science is defined as the application of science to the law. In criminal cases, forensic scientists are often involved in the search for and examination of physical traces which might be useful for establishing or excluding an association between someone suspected of committing a crime and the scene of the crime or victim. Such traces commonly include, among others, blood and other body fluids, hairs, textile fibres from clothing etc, materials used in buildings such as paint and glass, footwear, tool and tire marks, flammable substances used to start fires. Sometimes the scientist will visit the scene itself to advise about likely sequence of events, any indicators as to who the perpetrator might be, and to join in the initial search for evidence. Other forensic scientists analyse suspected drugs of abuse, specimens from people thought to have taken them or to have been driving after drinking too much alcohol, or to have been poisoned. Others specialize in firearms, explosives, or documents whose authenticity is in doubt.

In civil cases forensic scientists conduct similar examinations and analyses but assist in resolving civil disputes, such as the cause of a fire or a road accident for which damages are being claimed. Forensic scientists can appear for either side - prosecution or defense in criminal matters, and plaintiff or defendant in civil ones. They tend to present their findings and opinions in written form either as formal statements of evidence or reports. Sometimes they are required to attend court to give their evidence in person.