These days, thanks to shows like CSI, Dexter and NCIS, everyone is familiar with forensic science, but while the existence of blood splatter and DNA analysis are common knowledge, there are plenty of other fields of forensic study that most people are totally unaware of. These experts might not be called in to handle a petty theft or drunk driving case, but if you are facing a crime such as rape, murder, embezzlement, kidnapping or any other serious felony, a forensic specialist might be used to procure evidence. Here are a few lesser-known forensic specialties worth knowing about.
Forensic Linguists Study How People Talk
Everyone pronounces words differently, has trouble spelling specific words and uses different speech patterns. A forensic linguist takes these personal identifiers and uses them to help identify a suspect. Crime investigations that involve manifestos, ransom letters, etc. may involve a forensic linguist. If a document is used to tie you to a specific crime, your defense attorney may help show you did not write the document with the help of a handwriting analyst and a forensic linguist.
Forensic Odontologists Look at Bite Marks
Rapes, murders and other violent crimes often result in either the victim or suspect getting bitten during a struggle. A odontology is a forensic specialty that helps connect those bite marks to the person responsible for leaving them. While these experts can help build a case, there are ways to fool odontology reports using molds of other people and animal’s teeth, so if you are facing charges based on evidence from bite marks, your criminal attorney may still be able to challenge evidence based on this forensic specialty.
Forensic Botanist Examines Plants for Evidence
Plants may not be able to talk, but they sure can reveal a lot of information when it comes to a criminal investigation. The DNA from leaves, seeds, pollen and other parts of a plant can help tie a person to a specific location and plants can even help reveal information about a victim’s time and place of death.
Forensic Accountants Dig Into Finances
While they might not get all the attention of DNA experts, one of the most commonly used of all forensic specialties involves tracking and uncovering finances. Forensic accountants can be brought in whenever there is evidence of embezzling, fraud, money laundering or other financial crime.
Forensic Psychologists Try to Understand Someone’s Mental State
These are psychologists who specialize in court cases can help establish a defense or mitigate a criminal charge. They can establish a mental health defense or explain the underlying reasons why someone committed a crime. Often these experts can suggest treatment to create an alternative to a jail or prison sentence.
Because crimes that require these types of forensic specialties are particularly complex, your defense lawyer may even hire an independent forensic scientist to help fight the findings of the prosecution and to defend your innocence. If you have any questions regarding how these forensic specialties could hurt or help your case, please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by West Midlands Police