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Forensic tests and analysis

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Forensic examinations and studies in proceeding

In accordance with its statutes, one of the main objectives of the Estonian Forensic Science Institute is to provide forensic science and examination expertise and services in legal proceedings. The institute provides its services impartially, professionally, to a high level of technical quality and in a cost-effective manner to ensure the reliability of its results and both national and international recognition. The results of the forensic examinations and investigations carried out by the institute are issued on a scientific basis.

Examinations carried out by the EFSI

Medical forensic toxicology examination
medical forensic toxicology examination – 95 EUR

DNA examination
DNA examination per one item of analysis – 57 EUR

Forensic medical examination
forensic medical examination, including examination for establishing of health damage and state of health – 61 EUR
complicated forensic medical examination and forensic medical examination in a hospital, prison or custodial institution – 84 EUR
forensic medical committee examination – 271 EUR
additional forensic medical examination – 97 EUR
repeated forensic medical examination – 177 EUR
minor's gynaecological examination – 129 EUR
adult's gynaecological examination – 109 EUR
andrological examination – 119 EUR

Medical forensic anthropological examination
forensic anthropology examination, including person's identification examination – 333 EUR
forensic traumatology examination, including wound ballistics examination, forensic medical trace examination and event scene reconstruction examination – 77 EUR

Forensic chemical examination
alcohol examination – 75 EUR
narcotic substance examination – 84 EUR
explosives examination – 81 EUR
ignitable liquid examination – 193 EUR

Forensic psychiatric examination and forensic psychological examination
forensic psychiatric examination – 255 EUR, plus in-patient fee in the case of in-patient examination 59 EUR per each day
forensic psychiatric and forensic psychological complex examination – 380 EUR
forensic psychiatric committee examination – 380 EUR
forensic psychological examination – 125 EUR

Forensic science examination
information technology examination of materials relating to sexual abuse of a minor – 451 EUR
technical examination of vehicles – 503 EUR
document examination of one document – 77 EUR
voice examination – 862 EUR
information technology examination – 1608 EUR
marks examination – 314 EUR
fibre examination of one item – 100 EUR
image examination – 761 EUR
handwriting examination per one person – 282 EUR
cut-and-thrust weapon examination – 255 EUR
shot trace examination of one item – 45 EUR
other subtypes of traffic examination – 428 EUR
technical traffic examination – 457 EUR
traffic trassology examination – 413 EUR
explosive device and explosion examination – 430 EUR
metal examination of one item – 50 EUR
paper money examination of one banknote – 77 EUR
forensic accounting examination per one enterprise, organisation or legal person – 1585 EUR
radar detector examination – 86 EUR
weapon examination, including firearms examination – 420 EUR
fingerprint examination – 663 EUR
fire examination – 704 EUR
paint coating examination of one item – 40 EUR
filament lamp examination of one item – 35 EUR

Forensic medical examination of dead bodies
forensic medical examination of dead bodies – 145 EUR
complicated forensic medical examination of dead bodies – 222 EUR
forensic medical committee examination of dead bodies – 473 EUR
additional forensic medical committee examination of dead bodies – 68 EUR
second forensic medical examination of dead bodies – 220 EUR

Toxicology examination
Qualitative determination of active ingredients of narcotic substances and pharmaceutical drugs in biological specimen are the following:

determination of basic narcotic substances and active ingredients of pharmaceutical drugs by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 52 EUR
determination of amphetamines by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 54 EUR
price for taking venous blood samples by a health care provider or state forensic institution – 2 EUR
price for taking urine samples through a catheter by a health care provider or state forensic institution – 12 EUR
determination of cannabinoids by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 53 EUR
determination of narcotic and psychotropic substances by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 61 EUR
determination of fentanyls by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 50 EUR
screening measurement of narcotic and psychotropic substances for determining the class thereof – 23 EUR
determination of benzodiazepines by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 46 EUR
determination of gammahydroxybutyrate by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 70 EUR
determination of other substances by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, spectral analysis or high performance liquid chromatograph – 70 EUR

Other toxicology examinations are the following:
determination of alcohols and other highly volatile products – 27 EUR
determination of alcohols with multiple OH functional groups and their degradation products – 37 EUR

Studies carried out by the EFSI 

The prices for qualitative determination of active ingredients of narcotic substances and pharmaceutical drugs are the following:
determination of narcotic and psychotropic substances by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 59 EUR
determination of basic narcotic substances and active ingredients of pharmaceutical drugs by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 39 EUR
determination of benzodiazepines by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 33 EUR
determination of cannabinoids by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 36 EUR
determination of fentanyls by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 35 EUR
separation of acid base fractions from biological specimen and their analysis by thin layer chromatography – 35 EUR
determination of amphetamines by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 38 EUR
general urine test by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 31 EUR
determination of gammahydroxybutyrate by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 60 EUR
screening measurement of narcotic and psychotropic substances for determining the class thereof – 23 EUR

The prices for quantitative tests and analyses of active ingredients of narcotic substances are the following:
determination of narcotic substances and pharmaceutical drugs by a gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer – 174 EUR
determination of narcotic substances and pharmaceutical drugs by a high performance liquid chromatograph – 172 EUR

The prices for forensic medical radiology tests and analyses of dead bodies are the following:
computerized tomography scan of dead body – 284 EUR
computerized tomography scan of dead body together with fine needle biopsy for taking samples for toxicology studies – 308 EUR
computerized tomography scan of dead body together with thick needle biopsy and histological studies – 495 EUR
magnetic resonance tomography studies of dead body – 1057 EUR
other forensic radiology studies – according to the price list of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

The prices for other additional studies are the following:
forensic traumatology study – 76 EUR
forensic medical toxicology study – 52 EUR
determination of alcohols and other highly volatile products – 14 EUR
determination of alcohols with multiple OH functional groups and their degradation products – 25 EUR
determination of carboxyhaemoglobin – 26 EUR
determination of other intoxicating substances – 31 EUR
forensic medical examination of a person for determination of partial or no work ability – 61 EUR
elemental analysis of one item – 35 EUR
infrared spectrometry study of one item – 40 EUR
forensic psychiatric study – 125 EUR
forensic psychological study – 73 EUR
preliminary study of biological specimen – 70 EUR

Authorities that may order examinations and studies:
- Court
- Prosecutor´s office
- Investigative body
- Body conducting extra-judicial proceedings
- Administrative bodies
- State agencies

The police, prosecutor´s office or court must be conducted to initiate the proceeding.

 

Studies for charge

EFSI may conduct studies not related to proceedings for a charge and under the conditions and pursuant to the procedure provided by or pursuant to law to natural and legal persons and organisations, unless this hinders the performance of its duties related to forensic examinations.

The following studies for a charge may conduct:
- Determination of alcohol, narcotic and psychotropic substances in biological material or determination of other pure substances
- DNA-test
- Biological study
- Document study
- Electron microscopy study
- Handwriting study
- Person´s forensic medical study
- Medical toxicology study

To order a study for charge, please contact us in advance.

Terms and conditions for conduct of studies for charge

  1. EFSI shall prefer conducting of examinations to studies conducted for a charge, therefore the time period agreed for conducting studies for a charge shall be at least 30 days and the EFSI shall have the right to extend such term unilaterally for up to one year, and in the case the term is extended, the customer shall have the right to cancel the contract without paying for the study;
  2. the number of studies for a charge per month shall not exceed 20 per cent of the estimated average number of examinations of the respective type of examinations per month;
  3. the data and materials of studies for a charge shall be kept and stored separately from examination materials;
  4. the person who conducts studies for a charge shall be impartial and have been employed by a EFSI or in another position in the area of specialisation corresponding to the field of the studies conducted for a charge for at least one year and conform to other requirements provided for forensic experts by law;
  5. studies for a charge shall not be conducted anonymously but the customer shall ensure that the person concerned with the conduct or result thereof or the legal representative of such person shall have granted a consent to the EFSI for conducting a specific study, except if the study for a charge is directly required for such health services for the provision of which the consent of a patient or his or her legal representative is not required;
  6. the materials and data submitted for conducting a study shall be legal and safe, relevant and correct for conducting the study;
  7. conducting of a study for a charge shall not induce crime or prejudice the detection of a criminal offence;
  8. conducting of a study for a charge shall not damage the interests of the Republic of Estonia or the interests of justice;
  9. no studies for a charge shall be conducted for verifying or supplementing an examination already conducted in the proceedings or for preventing an examination in criminal proceedings;
  10. conducting of a study shall not violate morals or be in any other way contrary to the general good ethics and practice;
  11. equipment financed from the European Union Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund or acquired for money received as foreign aid shall not be used for conduct of studies for a charge, except if the institution which financed the acquisition of the equipment has granted its consent for this purpose.

The person who submits materials and data to an EFSI for conduct of studies for a charge shall be responsible for their legality, safety, relevance and correctness. The EFSI has the right to verify the information submitted.
EFSI may refuse to conduct a study for a charge. If it becomes evident in the course of an already commenced study for a charge that it is in contradiction with the terms and conditions set for studies for a charge or other legislation, the EFSI shall discontinue the study for a charge without charging for it or repay the charge already received to the customer. The EFSI need not repay the charge in the case the circumstances hindering the conduct of a study for a charge was or had to be known to the customer. The EFSI need not transfer the results of the study conducted until the study for a charge was discontinued or other data relating to the study to the customer and need not compensate the persons concerned with the study for the costs related to ordering the study or the conduct thereof.
Accounting shall be kept of studies for a charge and the data obtained upon ordering or conduct thereof shall be stored pursuant to the records management procedure of EFSI.
A person who conducts a study for a charge and persons who participate in it or who are present at it and EFSI shall maintain the confidentiality of the circumstances which become known to them upon ordering or conduct of the study, except if the submission or disclosure thereof is permitted or mandatory pursuant to law.

Financing of studies for charge

Customers shall pay a charge for the conduct of studies for a charge to a forensic institution according to the price list of examinations. In the absence of the price corresponding to the type of the study for a charge, the price for the closest type of examination shall be used as the basis upon agreeing on the charge. Customers shall pay the full charge prior to the commencement of a study for a charge, unless otherwise agreed.
Please note that EFSI shall prefer conducting of examinations to studies conducted for a charge, therefore the time period agreed for conducting studies for a charge shall be at least 30 days. EFSI shall have the right to extend such term unilaterally for up to one year, and in the case the term is extended, the customer shall have the right to cancel the contract without paying for the study.

Detailed description of studies for charge

DNA test or identification of filiation is the most frequent extrajudicial test commissioned from the Estonian Forensic Science Institute. The test can be commissioned if the parties agree that a DNA test is required for identifying the filiation of a child and they do not wish to address the court to that end. The prerequisite for the test is that all the parties come to give a sample at the same time. Paternity is not identified using samples or personal effects that have been taken in secret. In order to make an extrajudicial test, the consent of all the parties is required. In the event of minors the consent of both legal parents is required.
It takes only about twenty minutes to take a sample (i.e. to make a few rounds in the mouth using a cotton swab) and draw up the paperwork.
In addition to saliva, biological paternity can be determined on the basis of the following: foetal material during pregnancy, aborted foetal material, tissue samples taken during autopsy, and skeleton residues.
Foetal material can be analysed in two ways: chorion biopsy (taking a chorion sample using the needle of a syringe through the inguinal ligament) up to the third month of pregnancy and amniotic fluid analysis (taking amniotic fluid under the ultrasound using the needle of a syringe through the inguinal ligament) as of the fourth month of pregnancy. Both tests are risky and Gunnar Tasa, the Acting Head of the DNA Department, advises postponing the identification of biological paternity until the child is born, where possible. But if the future mother would like to be absolutely certain about to whom to bring the happy news before the birth of the child, she should certainly consult a DNA expert beforehand. A sample is taken by a doctor – in Estonia, samples can be given only in Tallinn and Tartu – and thereafter the foetal material taken by the doctor must be brought to the Estonian Forensic Science Institute. According to Tasa, the results of the survey will reach the mother at any rate only after the time of having a legal abortion (after the 12th week of pregnancy in Estonia) and therefore the results of the DNA analysis cannot be used for making a decision on whether to have an abortion or not.
Furthermore, a filiation analysis can be carried out if the DNA of the relevant person is no longer available (e.g. the person is dead). In such an event the other children of the deceased person or, as the last resort, their other personal effects or biological residues (bones, teeth) can be of help. In events where a person is no longer alive, an expert should be consulted before commissioning an examination, in order to identify whether a DNA test would give a sufficiently reliable answer in the first place. It may happen that multiple tests and examinations will need to be carried out in order to identify the blood relationship via the deceased.
Although identification of paternity is the most widespread analysis, a different biological blood relationship can be identified as well.
The result of a DNA test is either affirmative or preclusive. In the event of a preclusive result there are no overlaps in the investigated DNA sequences and the result is absolute, i.e. 100% reliable.
An affirmative result is always given as a probability ratio accompanied by an expert opinion. The probability percentage is close to one hundred, usually over 99%, but never 100%.
Upon identification of biological paternity, the test gives a sufficiently reliable response, while in the event of more distant relatives the identification of filiation is more complicated.
The test also costs less: the analysis fee per person is now 57 EUR. That is, if the mother, father and one child wish to take the test, it costs 171 EUR. If the number of compared persons is higher, 57 EUR will be added per person to be analysed.
A DNA sample can be given in Tallinn, Tartu, Kohtla-Järve and Pärnu. For further information contact the DNA Department of the EFSI by phone (+372 663 6726) or email dnainfo@ekei.ee.

Chemical examination – examinations conducted by the Chemistry Department are divided into toxicology examinations and pure substance examinations. The most frequent examination is toxicology examination, i.e. testing a biological fluid (blood , urine) for ethylene glycol, methanol, ethanol, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and medicinal products. The most frequently such examinations are commissioned by hospitals, but authorities have also started exercising control over their employees.
In the event of individuals there have been events where it has been necessary to prove that a person has not consumed any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance (e.g. parents want to be certain of their suspicions that their child consumes drugs).
Today there are quick tests that you can use for carrying out the initial check at work or home and then come to the expert institution to double-check a positive test. Hospitals and institutions have usually taken the samples themselves and they only bring a sample to have it tested. Individuals can give a sample in the Toxicology laboratory of the Chemistry Department in Tallinn at Tervise 30 and in Tartu at Ravila 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on working days (pre-registration by phone is required, +372 663 6701). In such an event a fee for taking a sample is added to the examination fee pursuant to the price list. The price list has been set out in § 2710 of the Forensic Examination Act.
Examinations of pure substances are carried out for identification of the types and composition of alcohol, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and medicinal products. Pure substances are examined in the Tallinn laboratory. Before commissioning an examination please consult the Chemistry Department directly by phone (+372 663 6701). The price of an alcohol examination is 75 EUR and the price of a narcotic substance examination is 84 EUR.

Biological examinations – biological examinations include chemical examinations and DNA tests. Chemical examinations include, for instance, fibre examinations, which means that the animal to which a certain hair belongs is identified. When planning this examination you should certainly discuss the necessity of the examination with an expert of the Chemistry Department beforehand, because the examination costs quite a lot, 438 EUR per object.
DNA tests are most frequently sperm tests, but usually they are taken following a forensic examination and then the survey reaches the DNA Department along with a consignment note by a forensic pathologist. Thus, the person who wants the examination must first address a forensic pathologist for examination and taking a sample. Forensic medical examination departments are located in Tallinn, Tartu, Kohtla-Järve and Pärnu and are open on working days. The prices of gynaecological or andrological examinations are different. The price is also influenced by the age of the person – the examination of a minor costs more.
By way of exception, DNA tests are taken in the event of animal attacks (e.g. if a dog has attacked a person). In the event of a usual bite there is no point in taking a DNA test, because the blood coming from the wound has washed off the animal DNA. But in the event of a major accident whereby the animal has torn off a piece of a human it is possible to analyse the meat found in the animals digestive track in order to find out if there is the DNA of the injured person in it. In the event of such examinations the DNA Department should be certainly be consulted by phone (+372 663 6726) or email (dnainfo@ekei.ee) in order to identify the possibility and price of the examination.

Electron microscopy examinations – electron microscopy and microanalysis offer broad opportunities for examination of very different objects. Forensic science uses electron microscopy examinations for comparing various materials and identifying firearm traces. The EFSI has a low-vacuum scanning electron microscope with a large chamber, which allows for examining, among other things, large objects without harming them. The materials most frequently examined using an electron microscope and elementary analysis are metal alloys, paints and glass. On the basis of microscopic features it is possible to identify forged documents – in that regard cooperation with the experts of the Document Department is pursued. First of all, the EFSI offers the possibility of cooperation to other research institutions in order to carry out electron microscopy examinations.
Electron microscopy examinations are also helpful for coin collectors for identification of forged coins. This means that if a person buys a certified coin, but is not certain if they received the right goods, they can address an expert of the EFSI who will examine the right weight and metal content of the coin.
If you would like to have an examination carried out, you should discuss the details of the survey with an expert beforehand (phone +372 663 6701, email kohtuekspertiis@ekei.ee).
Carrying out metal examinations is expensive – one examination costs 289 EUR.

Handwriting examination and document examination - Applying document or handwriting examination should be kept in mind that the Estonian Forensic Science Institute is not a procedural authority and do not resolve any civil disputes.
If there is a suspicion that all document or handwritten text or signature are forged, it is advisable to file an application to the police or the court who requests if necessary forensic examinations.
Prepaid external handwriting and document investigations are carried out in accordance with Forensic Science Act and cannot made anonymousley.
Handwriting investigations carried out on the basis of the forensic handwriting methods. Sometimes the word graphology have been used but nowadays they are distinguishable: handwriting experts are not graphologists.
Under the Act, the price of handwriting investigation per one person is 282 EUR and document investigation per one document is 77 EUR.
Contact by email kohtuekspertiis@ekei.ee or by phone +372 6636600.

Person’s forensic medical examination – such an examination is usually requested if a person has been injured, but they do not want to address a law enforcement body. There are various reasons for conducting an examination: family violence, quarrel (e.g. between neighbours), accidents in the street, school, nursery school, etc. Often people want to address the police later, but since the injuries suffered in the given situation have either not been registered or they find that these have been registered improperly, it is subsequently difficult to identify whether, how and when the injuries have been caused. The deed can later be submitted to the police for initiation of an official procedure.
The prerequisite for a forensic medical examination of a person in the EFSI is the absence of serious injuries. If injuries that need attending to have been caused to a person, the person should first go to a hospital.
Forensic medical examinations are carried out in Tallinn, Tartu, Kohtla-Järve and Pärnu on working days.
The prices of forensic medical examinations have been established in the Forensic Examination Act and they range from 61-271 EUR depending on the type and level of difficult of the examination. In the case of gynaecological and andrological examinations the price of a DNA test will be added as well.

Medical toxicology examination – a medical toxicology examination is used in order to identify narcotic and psychotropic substances in a body and their area of influence. For instance, if a person suspects that they have been poisoned, the doctor will, after a positive result of the toxicology survey, give the person a thorough-going medical opinion on the impact and consequences of consumption of the substance. By analysing various source data, it is possible to identify when the poisoning could have taken place.
The service has been rendered to employer for identification of a possible state of intoxication and examinations are also commissioned by hospitals. For instance, the EFSI has special methods for obtaining from the body the traces of the infamous GHB, which have not been identified using screening (analysis of the general class of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances) in hospitals.
If a person addresses an examination institution directly with a suspicion of poisoning, they must also pay the price of a toxicology examination (examination of a biological fluid) and the price of taking a urine and/or blood sample in addition to the price of a medical toxicology examination.
Medical toxicology examinations, costs 95 EUR, are carried out only in Tartu, but samples can also be given in Tallinn. To commission an examination contact the Southern Estonian Forensic Medical Examination Department by phone (+372 663 6775) or email (louna@ekei.ee).

Updated: 21.07.2020 - 10:37