The most obvious type of crime where toxicology is important is in relation to unexplained deaths. In the majority of cases this will involve analysis of blood samples to look for alcohol, prescribed drugs or illegal drugs, which could have been administered or intentionally ingested and may explain sudden death. Where bodies have decayed, decomposition fluids may provide an insight into drug ingestion in the days leading up to death and hair analysis can provide a picture of drug ingestion over a period of time.
Toxicology is also increasingly being employed in cases of drug facilitated rape to prove or disprove whether an individual’s drink has been spiked and to ascertain whether any drugs or alcohol present may have affected an individuals’ ability to give consent.
A further area of crime which employs toxicology is in relation to driving offences, where blood samples can be taken and tested for the presence of drugs and alcohol. There are now drug driving limits set for some controlled drugs, but as with alcohol individuals sometimes claim that their drinks have been spiked, post driving consumption has taken place or that they have been passively exposed to drugs. It is sometimes possible to support these claims by looking at the level of parent drug and metabolites in the blood sample and also considering the pattern of intoxication over time.
Toxicological reports can help put drug levels into context by explaining how a drug is metabolised, what typical therapeutic, toxic and fatal blood levels would be for a specific drug and for how long a particular drug may be detectable in a blood or urine sample.
Forensic Toxicology Services
Cases involving drugs
- Explanation and interpretation of blood results in relation to drug driving
- Post Mortem drug results (consideration of blood levels and comments regarding Post Mortem redistribution)
- Toxicological analysis of blood or hair in relation to child custody issues
- Effects of drugs on an individuals’ demeanour (either at the time of the offence or in relation to fitness for interview)
- Comments on toxicological analysis in relation to drug facilitated rape
Alcohol Technical Defence cases
- post driving drink consumption
- laced drink consumption
- Effects of medications on alcohol metabolism
- Side effects of medication that may make it difficult to provide a breath sample
Forensic Toxicology Expertise
Forensic Access boasts a world-class team of forensic scientists operating in state-of-the-art facilities. All forensic work is carried-out to the highest Quality Standards which is especially important when working with toxicological evidence.
All defence work is handled by dedicated Casework Managers who provide end-to-end support and streamlining. Direct access to our team of scientists helps barristers and solicitors to prepare a more effective defence strategy, and all expert witness reports are thoroughly documented and peer reviewed.
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