Differences between criminal and civil forensics

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Differences between criminal and civil forensics

What do you think are the differences between criminal and civil forensics? There is probably less than you might think. The obvious difference is criminal forensics deals with a case in which a law has been broken and that evidence is used to prove guilt or to exclude someone from a criminal investigation. Civil forensics deals with collecting, examining and reporting evidence that will be used or could be used in a civil ligation, including divorce cases.

Forensic sciences

In both criminal and civil forensics, varying forensic sciences are used to collect information to answer legal question that will come up in a trial. Some types of forensics are more likely to be used in a criminal case but there are many types than can apply to both civil and criminal cases.

Some forensic sciences include:

  • Fire investigation
  • Forensic engineering
  • Forensic materials engineering
  • Vehicular accident reconstruction
  • Forensic psychology
  • Ballistics
  • DNA profiling
  • Forensic accounting
  • Computer forensics
  • Database forensics
  • Mobile device forensics

It probably does not take much of your imagination to see how all of these sciences can be applied both criminally and civilly. Even a topic like ballistics may be applicable in both types of cases. The criminal case might be murder, and the civil case might be a wrongful death case.

Forensic accounting might involve criminal fraud or in a civil case it could be a contract dispute.

The process

The process for the collection, analysis, and reporting of evidence in both criminal and civil forensic situations is much the same. In both cases, forensic evidence must meet the court’s standard rules of evidence.

Evidence must be authentic and reliably obtained. It must demonstrate relevance and must be in substantially the same condition as on the relevant date. It must also demonstrate a complete chain of custody.

If you believe that you may have a need to collect, analyze or dispute evidence in a legal matter, you need the help of professionals and experts.

You can find that help at Prudential Associates Investigations and Digital Forensics in Rockville, MD