Becoming a forensic toxicology expert will require a college education.


Principles of Forensic Toxicology
AACC Press  More Info

Aids to Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
W. G. Aitchison Robertson  More Info

Clarke's Analytical Forensic Toxicology
Pharmaceutical Press  More Info

Postmortem Toxicology of Abused Drugs
CRC  More Info

Aids To Forensic Medicine and Toxicology
M.D. W. G. Aitchison Robertson  More Info


Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (B. Jain BHMS Solved Papers S.)
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Forensic Medicine And Toxicology V2
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Forensic Science

Becoming a Forensic Toxicology Expert

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FORENSIC TOXICOLOGY EXPERT

The fundamental reason this classification exists is to provide consultation and forensic toxicology expert services through testimony in the courtroom, breath testing data analysis, blood testing data analysis, and procedural and factual case analysis. This position requires the combined application of previously attained professional knowledge and experience in determining the effect of alcohol and drugs on the human body as it relates to driving skills, behavior, and performance on sobriety tests and drug recognition tests administered during the course of a criminal investigation for driving while under the influence. The incumbent is responsible for interpretation of, and testimony on, complex scientific/legal questions. Work is performed independently and evaluated based on results and the quality of expert assistance provided.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS:

  • Testifies in court as an expert witness in forensic breath and blood alcohol determinations, field sobriety testing, the effects of alcohol and drugs on the human body and driving skills, and the protocol for drug recognition testing;
  • Presents testimony as an expert witness in court regarding crime lab protocol, operations, quality control, and forensic evidence analysis;
  • Prepares findings for court presentation and testifies as an expert witness concerning scientific facts and interprets complex scientific/legal issues;
  • Demonstrates continuous effort to improve the delivery of expert witness services within Phoenix Municipal Court;
  • Prepares affidavits, and reports on DUI-related forensic issues;
  • Performs technical review of breath and blood testing data;
  • Provides technical expertise on difficult case work;
  • Compares breath and blood test administration procedures and calibration/quality assurance protocol and results with the standards set forth in the Regulations;
  • Evaluates the results of blood and breath tests for alcohol and drugs;
  • Interprets data from highly technical and/or computerized instrumentation such as an automated blood alcohol analysis system, or a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer.
  • Analyzes data and court evidence as it pertains to forensic blood and breath testing including techniques and other variables which may effect test results;
  • Interprets graphs, charts, and mathematical formulas to check scientific reports.
  • Performs mathematical and statistical computations in order to complete scientific examinations;
  • Evaluates documented and reported performance on field sobriety tests in the context of standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) and related entities;
  • Develops and implements professional training and seminars, in-service training, and the professional development of the legal and forensic community; on topics including DUI related forensic evidence, case evaluation, the analysis of evidence and evaluation of the information from both scientific and legal perspectives;
  • Consults with attorneys on the scientific reliability and acceptance of forensic test results in their cases;
  • Acts as a liaison with other criminalists, courts, attorneys, crime lab personnel, the media, and the public;
  • Works cooperatively and jointly to provide quality seamless customer service;
  • Reviews journal reports, scientific studies, and articles in the field of DUI-related toxicology;
  • Keeps abreast of recent developments through journals, and attendance at local and out-of-state professional seminars, workshops, and training on recent developments and scientific advancements in areas related to the presentation of expert testimony in alcohol and drug cases;
  • Comprehends and makes inferences from written material such as laboratory reports, scientific journals/literature and testimony transcripts to maintain current expertise;

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

Knowledge of:

  • Principles, methods, materials, equipment, and techniques related to forensic toxicology;
  • Chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, and botany, as related to forensic toxicology;
  • Recent developments, current literature, and sources of information in the field of forensic toxicology;
  • Recent case decisions, the history of breath and blood testing in Arizona, and the history of Arizona DUI case law related to forensic toxicology;
  • Proper procedures, protocols, and standards as set forth in the Statutory Regulations;
  • Laboratory operations and administrative procedures including calibration and quality assurance;
  • Crime laboratory analysis procedures so as to present expert testimony covering the propriety and accuracy of a lab workers analysis and test results;
  • Laws pertaining to the collection of breath and blood evidence, and the preservation, analysis, and presentation of physical evidence;
  • Standard Police Department operational orders and procedures;
  • Basic rules of evidence and rules of criminal procedure concerning time limits, discovery, evidence and expert witnesses.
  • Legal limitations, applicable court cases, and mechanical/technical aspects of blood and breath testing;
  • The effects of alcohol and drugs on the human body and driving performance;
  • Scientific background sufficient to comprehend medical issues pertaining to the effects of alcohol and drugs and be able to provide simplified explanations of these issues as related to forensics;
  • Local and national expert opinions to establish general acceptance within the scientific community.

Ability to:

  • Understand and apply pharmacokinetics for alcohol and drugs in the course of expert testimony presented in a manner understandable to jurors;
  • Formulate expert opinions based on personal knowledge, experience, and training without the assistance of others;
  • Sort, separate, arrange, file and analyze COBRA data;
  • Observe, compare or monitor objects, data, or people's behavior to determine compliance with prescribed operating and safety standards.
  • Draw or letter charts, graphs, or similar objects for evidence analysis and illustration.
  • Instruct attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals in a classroom setting.
  • Communicate orally with customers, co-workers, and the public in the English language in face-to-face one-on-one settings, in group settings, and using a telephone.
  • Perform complex mathematical and statistical calculations;
  • Perceive the full range of the color spectrum;
  • Comprehend and make inferences from material written in the English language;
  • Produce written documents in English with clearly organized thoughts using proper sentence construction, punctuation, and grammar;
  • Work cooperatively with other City employees.

Additional Requirements:

  • Appointments to positions in the Public Defender Office are subject to appropriate background standards;
  • Some positions require the use of personal or City vehicles on City business. Individual must be physically capable of operating the vehicles safely, possess a valid driver's license and have an acceptable driving record. Use of a personal vehicle for City business will be prohibited if the employee is not authorized to drive a City vehicle or if the employee does not have personal insurance coverage;
  • Some positions will require the performance of other essential and marginal functions depending upon work location, assignment, or shift;
  • Incumbent must possess personal reference resources covering alcohol, drugs, their effect and measurement;
  • Experience training legal professionals including attorneys and judges.
  • Incumbent must maintain professional membership and affiliation with professional forensic and/or toxicological associations such as the American Academy of Forensic Science, the International Association of Chemical testing, and the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists;

 

ACCEPTABLE EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING:
Ten (10) years experience as a senior level forensic scientist or criminalist in a recognized crime laboratory and six (6) years experience presenting courtroom expert testimony in DUI cases. Holds or previously held Operators, Quality Assurance, and Instructional professional certifications for breath testing. A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major course of study in chemistry or closely related physical or natural sciences with a minimum of thirty (30) semester hours in chemistry is required. Holds or previously held factory certifications for the operation, repair, and instruction on breath testing equipment. Other combinations of experience and education that meet the minimum qualifications may be substituted.

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