When someone hears “forensic investigation” they clearly imagine a “crime scene”. However, there is more to forensic investigation, and we will be discussing the same in this article. What is a forensic investigation? How can you become one? What is the salary in this particular field? And more.
One great advantage that forensic investigations have is that they are usually considered valid in a court of law and are relied on the most. They are means to solve a crime, true but also analyze how possibly a crime would have taken place. “Forensic investigation is the gathering and analysis of all physical evidence related to a crime in order to reach a conclusion about a suspect. To determine how a crime occurred, investigators will examine blood, fluid, or fingerprints, residue, hard drives, computers, or other technology.” It includes all investigations, ranging from cases of financial fraud to murder.
“Common forensic science laboratory disciplines include forensic molecular biology (DNA), forensic chemistry, trace evidence examination (hairs and fibers, paints and polymers, glass, soil, etc.), latent fingerprint examination, firearms and tool marks examination, handwriting analysis, fire and explosives examinations, forensic toxicology, and digital evidence. Some forensic disciplines practiced outside forensic laboratories include forensic pathology, forensic nursing, forensic psychiatry, forensic entomology, and forensic engineering. Practitioners of these disciplines are most often found in medical examiner or coroner offices, in universities, or in private practices.”
They take photographs and physical measurements of the scene, identify, and collect forensic evidence, and maintain the proper chain of custody of that evidence. Crime scene investigators collect evidence such as fingerprints, footprints, tire tracks, blood and other body fluids, hairs, fibers, and fire debris. In the United States Supreme Court in the case Daubert vs. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., The Daubert standard is the standard used by a trial judge to assess whether an expert witness’s scientific testimony is based on scientifically valid reasoning which can properly be applied to the facts at issue. The primary holding of the Daubert case held that “An expert may testify about scientific knowledge that assists the jury in understanding the evidence or determining a fact in issue in the case. Factors that a judge should consider include whether the theory or technique in question can be and has been tested, whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication, its known or potential error rate, the existence and maintenance of standards controlling its operation, and whether it is widely accepted in the relevant scientific community.”
The following are some of the things that a forensic investigation can assist a plaintiff in a civil litigation case in proving:
- The cause of an accident, e.g., a forensic investigation involving the expertise of a traffic engineer,
- Whether a breach of contract actually occurred, e.g., a contract may have required money to be transferred to a particular company at a specified time. A forensic investigation utilizing accounting expertise may be able to determine whether this in fact occurred,
- Whether a component of a product was faulty, e.g., a forensic investigation involving engineering expertise; and
- Whether a product was contaminated, e.g., a forensic investigation involving chemical analysis,
- Whether an accident was caused by negligence, e.g., a forensic investigation involving a mechanical engineer may determine that a machine fault did not cause an accident but rather was due to negligence on the part of someone responsible for operating the machine.
CAREER AND EMPLOYMENT
Before seeking employment, most pursue college degrees in forensics, biology, molecular biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and other hard sciences, choosing specialized coursework in pathology, DNA, criminology, firearms, genetics, fingerprints, toxicology, trace evidence, and other relevant fields. The day-to-day responsibilities tend to vary from institution to institution. In addition to this, in “work environments, many forensic scientists work for the federal government—the highest-paying employer according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2020 although local governments are actually the top-employing organization in this field. Finally, before seeking jobs in the upper echelons of the discipline, many forensic science professionals choose to become nationally certified through agencies accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board (FSAB).”
“Some say that the rapidly advancing technology behind crime scene investigation (CSI) has made the field a victim of its own success; even the briefest contact with an innocent individual’s DNA—the genetic fingerprint found in blood, saliva, hair, skin cells, and more—can contaminate a crime scene and confuse investigators. That said, the incredible innovations in the field have been largely positive, helping law enforcement secure the evidence they need to put criminals behind bars through specimen collection, laboratory analysis, and careful documentation.” As of Jun 12, 2023, the average annual pay for a Forensic Investigator in the United States is $81,041 a year.
 What Is Forensic Investigation? Crime Scene Investigation In Forensic Science (financialcrimeacademy.org)  Ibid.  Office of Legal Policy | Forensic Science (justice.gov)  Crime Scene Examination | National Institute of Justice (ojp.gov)  Ibid.  509 U.S. 579 (1993).  Daubert standard | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)  Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. :: 509 U.S. 579 (1993) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center  Below points are retrieved from: What is a Forensic Investigation? | Armstrong Legal  How To Become a Forensic Scientist: Requirements & Steps (forensicscolleges.com)  Ibid.  How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) - Steps & Requirements (forensicscolleges.com)