Dr. Robert Bennett    -   Charleston DNA
M E D I C AL  -  L E G A L  -  F O R E N S I C
DNA - Drug - Alcohol - Paternity - Forensic testing
                 RobertBennettPhD@gmail.com                         (843) 478 - 8777             


 

 
For a FREE case review, copy of my service agreement, and/or a copy of my c.v.: send me an EMAIL.

Dr. Bennett has extensive experience as a forensic scientist, expert witness, forensic pharmacy, and consultant, and in that capacity he has provided case analysis, depositions, trial testimony, cause and effect relationships, and forensic examination.

The following is a list of services offered.  If you don't see the forensic service that may be useful in you situation, contact Dr. Bennett at 843-478-8777:

 

DNA Testing for Paternity Identification:

Child support responsibility
Child custody/visitation rights
Social security benefits

Drug Testing for Substances of Abuse:

Forensic level testing
Cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, marijuana, prescription drugs, etc
Recent usage (urine test)
Long term use (hair test)
Segmental hair analysis/drug use timeline (i.e.1 month, 5 months, etc.)
Quick test (10 minutes)

 

Alcohol Testing:

Blood levels, breath testing, saliva testing
Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) testing for recent use (3-5 days)
CDT/GGT test for heavy alcohol use long term (alcohol abuse)

 

Criminalistics and Forensics:

DNA matching in sexual offenses (i.e., rape, incest, paternity, assault)
Poisons/Toxins/Drug analysis
Crime scene investigation evaluation/Case review
Fingerprinting
Fibers
Gun shot residue
Ballistics


Independent Medical Examination:
Medical file review
Case review
Drug utilization reviews (i.e., improper medication, drug reactions)
Medical research
Data analysis


Expert Witness:

Worker's compensation
Personal injury
Medical malpractice
Wronful death


Drug Testing of Infants and Children:

Determine environmental (household) exposure
Determine in utero (in the womb) exposure, even after birth


Home Swabbing:

In home swabbing for drugs
In home swabbing for unknown substance analysis
Confirm drug presence in household or work environment


Semen/Sperm Identification:

Infidelity
Adultery
Underwear, bed sheets, clothing, towels, any item


Biological Fluid Testing:

Intentional contamination (i.e., restaurants)
Foods and consumables
Store shelf products tampering


HIV, Herpes, and Hepatitis Testing

All other clinical laboratory and diagnostic testing is available


ALCOHOL TOXICOLOGY SERVICES

Provide expert testimony regarding all aspects of alcohol in the body, including the following:

  • Elimination of alcohol.
  • Absorption of alcohol in the body.
  • Retrograde Extrapolation of times and percentages of alcohol amounts.
  • Amount of alcohol needed to reach a given percentage for both men and women.
  • Determine the blood alcohol levels at times before the drawing of the blood, such as the time of death or time of an accident.
  • Amount of drinks to reach a recorded BAC.
  • Amount of alcohol eliminated for a given time.
  • Provide opinion testimony regarding the level of intoxication of a subject.
  • Provide expert testimony regarding all aspects of breath testing and the Breathalyzer.
  • Provide expert testimony regarding all applications of Regulations regarding alcohol in persons involved in driving while intoxicated.
  • Provide testimony regarding other breath testing instruments.
  • Provide expert testimony regarding applications of the law regarding testing of alcohol.
  • Review all documents from the police department's investigation of investigations of persons drinking alcohol.
  • Review all medical documents of testing of persons for alcohol use.
  • Review traffic accident reports, Alcoholic Influence reports, Accuracy Inspection reports, statements, depositions, interrogatories, and all documents regarding alcohol that pertains to the case.
  • Review testing results of other laboratories either by blood, breath or urine.
    • Will travel to crime scene to collect samples.
    • Will test fire guns and collect samples for analysis.
    • Re-examination of samples collected and / or analyzed by a state laboratory or others.
    • Will perform examination of any type of collection kit.
    • Analysis of acid swab samples to be tested by Atomic Absorption.
    • Review of other laboratory reports and SEM/EDX data.
    • Provide a written report of GSR finding and related testing.
    • Assist attorneys in trial preparation and questioning of witnesses.
    • Provide consultation, analysis and Expert Testimony regarding all aspects of Gunshot Residue.

 



FORENSIC TESTS FOR ALCOHOL

 

Habitual Drunkenness ● Public Intoxication ● DUI ●

Open Container ● Minors ● Alcoholism

 

Blood Alcohol

A Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) measures the amount of alcohol in a person's system at that moment. It is used mostly to determine if someone is currently intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. The same is true for a Breathalyzer of saliva alcohol test. Good for a few hours.

 

Urine Alcohol

A Urine Alcohol measures the amount of alcohol excreted from a person's system. It determines if the person has consumed alcohol recently (up to about a day). It does not determine if someone is currently intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol, just recent consumption.

 

Ethyl Glucuronide

Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG) is a specific metabolite of ethanol and can only be found when alcohol has been recently consumed. EtG can be detected in urine for three to four days after alcohol consumption, thus indicating alcohol consumption during that time period. It does not determine if someone is currently intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. This test is most widely used to determine if someone has consumed any alcohol, for example, over the weekend. Used frequently in Family Law for weekend visitations.

 

Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin

The Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) protein test determines if someone has been engaging in HEAVY or unhealthy alcohol use (e.g. abuse). Typically, a POSITIVE CDT test result indicates that a person has consumed multiple alcoholic beverages on an almost daily basis for the past 1-4 weeks or longer. The %CDT is the most reliable alcohol abuse marker available. This now provides for a definitive objective forensic lab test to determine HABITUAL DRUNKENESS. The following table highlights the different forensic alcohol tests that are available through my office for determining the extent and degree of alcohol use.

TEST

EXTENT

DEGREE

SPECIMEN TYPE

Blood Alcohol (BAC)

A few hours

Any alcohol use

Blood

Urine Alcohol

A few hours to 1 day

Any alcohol use

Urine

Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG)

Approximately 3 - 4 days

Any alcohol use

Urine

CDT protein

Approximately 1 - 4 weeks

Heavy alcohol use

Blood

These tests are typically not available forensically from a private Dr.'s office or a hospital lab. Hospital labs are prohibited by internal policy from performing any outside tests for legal purposes. Affiliate offices are available nationwide.



 

FORENSIC CDT/GGT TEST FOR DETECTION OF HEAVY ALCOHOL USE

 

Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) testing is cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a biological marker for heavy alcohol consumption. Heavy alcohol consumption for most people is the consumption of multiple drinks on a regular (e.g. daily) basis. Heavy alcohol consumption for a period of one week or longer can elevate CDT protein levels above normal.


Elevated CDT is an indication that excessive drinking is disrupting the normal chemistry of the liver. It also means that excessive drinking may be affecting other body organs, especially the brain, and thus may be harmful to the person's medical or social / family functioning.


Cases of alleged habitual drunkenness can be objectively substantiated with the use of this test. However, as with many laboratory tests, not everyone is a responder. Up to approximately 10 to 20% of heavy drinkers may pass this test. Therefore, as with any forensic evaluation, the absence of evidence (a Negative test result) does not prove to condition does not exist. Contrarily, a Positive test indicates (with a 95% specificity) that heavy alcohol consumption on a regular basis does exist.


The CDT protein level typically gradually returns to normal over 2 to 4 weeks following cessation of alcohol consumption, depending on the level of elevation. The CDT test is extremely sensitive to alcohol relapse and is an excellent tool to determine even minor relapses. Since CDT can remain elevated for two to four weeks, monitoring for relapse would not be needed more often than once approximately every four weeks.


CDT testing is very specific (>95%) for heavy alcohol use. CDT is the most reliable forensic alcohol abuse test to date. The CDT test yields useful objective forensic information for detection of chronic heavy alcohol use to aid in the identification of alcohol related diseases, including cognitive deficits and changes in mental functioning, as well as monitoring during treatment for alcohol abuse. CDT testing has been well documented in the peer reviewed medical literature as a marker for chronic alcohol consumption. It is extensively used in D.U.I. cases.


Typically, heavy alcohol consumption of a chronic nature (weeks to months) can also elevate GGT liver enzyme. GGT is a liver enzyme that responds to excessive, chronic metabolic burden placed upon the liver. Elevated GGT can be associated with persons who are alcohol dependent. GGT is used conjunctively with the CDT test, as it is the first liver enzyme that frequently is elevated in persons engaged in heavy alcohol use excessively and/or chronically.


CDT testing has been used by our office for court cases, mainly Family Court, for years and is widely accepted as a valuable forensic laboratory test. Currently, our office is the only forensic provider of this test. In addition to performing the test, clients are also offered a consultation as to how the test works, interviewed to ascertain their current level of alcohol consumption, pattern, and type, and the quantitative results of the test are correlated with the reported alcohol consumption profile. The comprehensive work up typically also includes an interpretation of the findings as to the health and wellness consequences of the level of alcohol consumption the test indicates.


The CDT test is an objective forensic tool to determine if the level of alcohol consumption is at an unhealthy level (physically and mentally) specifically for the person being tested. The cost of the test is $180 and includes the CDT test, the GGT liver enzyme test, and the comprehensive work up. The blood specimen is collected in a Serum Separator Tube (SST), spun (centrifuged), and sent to our Charleston, SC lab. Results are typically available in one to three days.



GUNSHOT RESIDUE FORENSIC SERVICES


Analysis of samples by Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-Ray analysis
(SEM / EDX).

Examination of items collected from crime scenes, photographs, hands and face of subjects, clothing of subjects, gloves worn or from areas near a discharging gun.

 


 

FORENSIC HAIR TESTING FOR SUBSTANCES OF ABUSE


Step 1- Specimen Collection: The specimen collection process is a critical component in the testing process. The collector must be aware that there is considerable incentive of the person being tested to make the outcome of the test NEGATIVE. Consequences of a POSITIVE test in court cases can be severe. Care must be exercised to insure identification of the person being tested. We employ two methods to check Photo ID and we take a photograph that is printed directly on the report. Many potential problems exist with hair collection. Hair can be adulterated, damaged, or contaminated prior to arriving for the drug test (bleached, permed, special shampoos). Hair can be substituted with weaves and extensions. Hair can be of various lengths and represent various time periods.

Once a proper specimen is collected, it must be processed in a manner to avoid specimen mix-up with another, contamination by the collector, and contamination by certain instruments used in the collection process that may have been used on a previous person that was positive for drug use. Chain-of-custody must be initiated and the specimen must be sealed in individual tamper evident packaging and protected at all times until tested at the laboratory. Hair specimen collections must be performed by a skilled, experienced hair specimen collector knowledge of the variables and issues and know which hair to collect and how to collect.


Step 2-Laboratory Testing: The laboratory takes little responsibility other than testing the specimen provided, as is, and performing the test requested. The laboratory has no knowledge of the case parameters, how the specimen was collected, or how the results of the laboratory findings will be used or interpreted. The laboratory only reports the findings of the laboratory analysis. Few drug testing providers are aware that there are differences in hair drug tests. Most all facilities use a standard "workplace" drug test. This test is designed to prevent drug addicts from being hired on the job. Unfortunately, this type of testing is also unknowingly being used in forensic cases. The hair drug testing performed through our office is a "forensic-level" drug test. This test analyzes the hair for more drugs and at lower levels. This test is more discerning, more sensitive, and more inclusive. Since this level of testing better determines the true state of involvement with drugs by the person being tested, it is considered more accurate. We can also test for prescription drugs of abuse.

Step 3-Interpretation of Laboratory Findings:
It is critically important that the laboratory findings be interpreted by a Toxicologist in order to determine the meaning of the laboratory findings, i.e. whether or not drug abuse has occurred, and to what extent. Examples of non-drug abuse are: (1) Cocaine is routinely used for nasal surgery and certain nasal procedures. (2) Marijuana (THC) is available as a prescription drug known as Marinol for the treatment of nausea, cancer, and HIV. (3) The prescription drug Benzphetamine converts to methamphetamine in the body. None of these cases would be classified as drug abuse. A toxicologist is a professional skilled to perform interpretation of drug test laboratory findings. All drug tests should be evaluated by a toxicologist.

Additionally, we can perform Segmental Hair Analysis of various time periods e.g. 1 month, 6 months, 3 months before the most recent one month, and so forth. The cost of the test is $155 and includes the comprehensive work up of hair examination, testing and interpretation. The hair specimen can be collected in one of our offices nationwide. Results are typically available in one to three days.