Alcohol & Toxicology

Alcohol is probably the world’s most socially acceptable drug and its consumption is a significant factor in all types of incidents ranging from murder through to drink driving. It therefore crops up in all types of casework including criminal, civil, insurance and family matters.


The fate of alcohol in the body is a complex matter and is dependent on a number of factors including height, weight and gender, calculation of an appropriate Widmark factor and, in particular, the case timeline. Alcohol in the body is a well-studied area of forensic science but the casework is amongst some of the most complicated.

Our Drink Driving Experts and Forensic Toxicologists were trained in England & Wales, where the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows three defences to drink driving. As a result, our experts have many years’ experience in blood, breath and urine alcohol calculations that are not undertaken by many experts in New Zealand outside of ESR Forensic. We are therefore extremely well placed to provide independent advice and expertise in all types of cases involving alcohol including:

  • Blood alcohol calculations

  • Breath alcohol calculations

  • Blood alcohol analysis and blood alcohol testing

  • Breath alcohol testing including: breath alcohol testing procedures, operation of evidential breath testing devices, mouth alcohol effects, interfering substances

Other related areas in which we are able to provide independent expertise and advice include:

  • Psychopharmacology – the interactions and effects of drugs in the body, including alcohol

  • Toxicology – the fate of drugs, including alcohol, in the body

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