The Life Of A Forensic Science Expert Witness

Adrienne Carlson of writes on The Life Of A Forensic Science Expert:

When your designation is tagged with the word “expert,” you can bet your last dollar that people expect you to be pretty smart and never make a mistake. And when you’re a forensic scientist, errors are the noose that could snuff out your career – you’re expected to be accurate and precise so that crimes can be solved and criminals put away for good. The life of a forensic science expert is one that has come through the college route – undergraduate, graduate, and even doctoral studies are a must when you expect to reach expert level. Besides this, you also have to gain a ton of experience by working with seniors in the field and assisting their research work.

As a forensic scientist, you are going to be responsible for analyzing evidence collected at crime scenes and providing expert testimony related to the evidence during trials. While some forensic scientists do go out in the field to collect evidence, this is a job that is usually done by forensic technicians or crime scene investigative technicians. Forensic scientists work closely with police and other law enforcement and investigative agencies in order to determine how and why a criminal act was perpetrated and to find the guilty person.

When testifying in court, as a forensic science expert, you must know your facts and be absolutely confident about them; otherwise you risk falling to pieces under the grueling cross examination of ruthless defense attorneys, which means that the whole case of the prosecution bites the dust. A good forensic science expert is able to read much more into the workings of a crime than just what the evidence seems to show. For example, besides analyzing the blood found at the scene of a crime, an expert will be able to tell you the position of the criminal and the victim at the time the crime took place by the blood spatter and the stains left on surrounding areas and objects.

Forensic science experts are sometimes under pressure from law enforcement agencies and the DA’s office to hold back certain facts that may prevent criminals from being convicted. As far as they are concerned, the case is open and shut and revealing unnecessary facts could only cloud the jurors’ minds. But an ethical forensic science expert knows that it is their job to provide all the evidence that is available and then let the jurors and the judge make their decision.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of forensic scientist schools. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at: