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What is a questioned document investigation, and when is it done?

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Residents of Texas who are accused of committing white-collar crimes should do all they can to protect their rights and freedom. In this situation, you might hear about a questioned document investigation.

What is a questioned document investigation?

Questioned document investigations rely on science to explore a document and determine authenticity. White-collar crimes like fraud often involve fake documents and forgery.

What happens during a questioned document investigation?

A questioned document investigation looks at documents that are believed to be fraudulent and involved in crimes to determine whether they are indeed fake or authentic. Aspects that are examined include handwriting, typewriting, paper, ink, printing processes and more. Forensic science is used to analyze the documents involved in a white-collar crime such as forgery, securities fraud or check fraud.

It can also be used to determine whether other types of crimes are at play, such as murder. For example, if someone is found dead and a suicide note was left, a questioned document investigation can discern whether the person actually died by suicide or if something else caused their death.

During an investigation, examiners will compare the documents in question against documents known to be authentic. For example, if a person is being accused of forgery, documents that include the signature of the victim are compared with documents believed to be involved in fraudulent activities.

Forensic document examiners work in laboratory settings. They use a variety of tools to perform a questioned document investigation such as microscopes, video analysis tools, infrared and ultraviolet light and more. They closely examine aspects of documents that many laypeople might not even notice, such as obliterations and alterations that might only be visible through the use of specialized equipment.

No one’s handwriting is exactly the same every time they sign their name. Questioned document investigators can uncover whether a person accused of a white-collar crime is actually innocent.