Solicitors Legal DNA Testing FAQHere are our frequently asked question’s for legal professionals
What legal DNA tests we you provide?
AlphaBiolabs provide a number of court approved tests including:
- Legal Paternity Testing
- Complex Relationship Testing (such as Y Chromosome, Avuncular, Sibling and Grandparentage Testing)
- Legal Immigration Testing
- Legal Ancestry Testing
As we are a UKAS ISO 17025 accredited laboratory so we can provide testing that is admissible in court, for the CSA and the Home Office.
Please visit our legal services pages or call us on 0333 600 1300 for more information on the testing that we can provide for solicitors and their clients.
How long will it be before the results are received?
For legal DNA testing we provide a swift turnaround time of 3 working days as standard. We can provide results within 2 working days (48hrs), next working day (24hrs) or on the same day (8hrs) if the samples are received at our laboratory before 10:00 am that day.
These services are provided at an additional cost but could help you to meet tight court deadlines and dates.
How accurate is our DNA testing?
As solicitors, you will know that wording can be all important. Companies can vary in how they express their accuracy, which can sometimes be misleading whether that is done intentionally or not.
The results of paternity testing, for example, are extremely accurate. This is especially so if the testing also involves the mother whenever this is possible. No paternity test available can claim 100% probability of paternity but this does not mean that they are not accurate. We can proudly state that our paternity testing can determine a probability of paternity of over 99.99%.
Any company claiming that they are ‘100% accurate’ aren’t necessarily lying, but they may be using such wording to be misleading if it is done intentionally. Our results ARE about as accurate as it gets, at determining the probably of paternity. But it is important to consider the difference between words such as ‘conclusive results’, ‘probability of paternity’ and ‘accuracy’ when it comes to DNA testing.
To clarify, anywhere that claims that it can give 100% probability of paternity (rather than ‘accuracy’) may be being more than misleading. Be sure to look for the percentage of probability as not just accuracy because all companies will claim to be accurate.
AlphaBiolabs is a UKAS ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, the sole national body recognised by the government for international quality requirements for laboratories, so you can be assured that we adhere to the highest of standards in the DNA testing industry (and the Drugs & Alcohol testing industry).
Can your home DNA testing kits be used for legal purposes?
Our home DNA testing kits such as our peace of mind paternity test cannot be used as admissible proof in court. They are just for use for peace of mind, meaning that they are for the customers own knowledge and not for legal reasons such as for the CSA or for immigration purposes.
They are not necessarily any less accurate, but because the sample is collected by the customer (self-administered) the possibility for tampering or a fraudulent submission cannot be eliminated.
The rest of the testing process is still the same so this test could technically be useful to a client if they wanted to know what the result of the test will be before the case goes to court. But a test using our sample collection service (or a GP in some specific cases) would have to be used for testing and the results from that test only will be admissible in court.
How do I interpret the results/will I receive help afterwards?
In paternity cases, for example, where the results are conclusive (either 0% or above 99% probability of paternity) the interpretation may seem pretty straight-forward. However, even results with very high or low extremes of percentages can be a bit more confusing for people to interpret.
Whenever you have a legal DNA test with us we are available to help you every step of the way. If you require any help then you can contact our friendly team who can advise you on what the results indicate in an easy to understand manner.
What happens to the DNA sample once the testing is done?
The DNA sample itself is kept for 3 months and the results of the tests are kept for 12 months. One of the reasons they are kept after testing is to allow for any retesting if required.
These time frames comply with all the necessary legislation (such as the Data Protection Act and Human Tissue Act).
Do you need consent when taking a DNA sample?
There are a few exceptions where consent for taking a DNA sample for testing purposes is not required, such as for coroners, the investigation of crime or for national security. When it comes to tests for the general public the legality of testing without consent can be a risky area.
There are exceptions where consent cannot be given directly such as for young children or the deceased, but ‘qualifying’ consent can usually be given by someone else such as a parent or next-of-kin.
If a DNA test is offered to the public without the need for the person being tested to consent to it, then they may be breaching The Human Tissue Act, even if it is only for peace of mind.
Simply put, some form of consent is always required for DNA testing to be conducted and any sample tested without the relevant consent cannot be used as evidence in court.
What if the person is deceased or unavailable for testing?
DNA testing can still be conducted if a person is deceased (during autopsy for example) or unavailable but the relevant consent must be acquired before these tests can be conducted (see above).
What forms of drug and alcohol testing do you do?
AlphaBiolabs can perform a number of Drugs and Alcohol tests. These can be used to detect whether a person has a substance currently in their system, or more commonly with legal cases, they can be used to establish a person’s history of consumption.
The forms of test we can perform include hair drug testing, hair alcohol testing (FAEEs and EtG), blood alcohol tests (LFT and CDT) and urine testing that are particularly useful for cases involving Drugs or Alcohol (or both).
What drugs do you test for?
AlphaBiolabs can test for a vast number of drugs, whether they are illegal drugs, prescription drugs that are being abused, anabolic steroids/performance enhancers or some legal highs.
Some of the drugs we test for include:
- Anabolic Steroids
- Cannabis (and other cannabinoids)
- Cocaine (and Crack Cocaine)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- MDMA (Ecstasy)
This is to name just a few of the drugs and their variations that we can test for. Please visit our ‘Drugs We Test For’ page for a more extensive list. Neither list is fully comprehensive as we are always expanding and developing the amount of drugs and their variations that we can test for, so feel free to give us a call and ask our friendly customer service team about whether we can test for a specific drug or substance.
It is generally less common for cases to involve the use of legal highs (than those involving use illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs) and testing companies can often struggle to keep up with the constantly changing formulas of these kinds of substances. However, AlphaBiolabs can test for a number of legal highs and also may even be able to spot the use of substances from analysing their structure (such as identifying similarities with the original formulas).
If you are unsure of whether or not we test for a specific substance then please give us a call on 0333 600 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions about our services.
Do you test for legal highs?
We can test for a number of legal highs despite it being notoriously hard for testing companies to test for them with continuously changing formulas.
It would be impossible to test for every single legal high available but we can test for a number of them and in some cases even identify similarities between changing formulas by analysing their structure.
We can also test for one of the most common legal highs called ‘Spice’ (also known as Black Mamba) and synthetic forms of cannabis.
How long will it be before the results are received?
With legal Drugs & Alcohol testing we provide a swift turnaround time of 5 working days as standard. However, we can provide results even sooner if you require.
This will be at an additional cost, but it could help you to meet tight deadlines and court dates. Please call 0333 600 1300 for more information on our prices and turnaround times or email us at email@example.com
Do you adhere to the standards set out by The Society of Hair Testing?
Although it is not compulsory for a company that conducts hair testing to do so, AlphaBiolabs adhere to standards set out by The Society of Hair Testing as we strive to deliver the best service available with the most accurate results possible.
How long of a history of consumption/misuse can be established?
- For Drug Hair Testing a history of abuse (or abstinence) can be established for up to 12 months from a single sample
- For Alcohol Hair testing a history of consumption can be established for up to 6 months from a single sample
- For Blood Alcohol testing a history of consumption can be established for up to 28 days from a single sample
- Urine testing is not used for establishing a history of consumption because it is considered ‘narrow-window testing’ as the history of intake that can be established is considerably less than the other methods mentioned above
It is possible for any of these methods to establish a history of consumption (or abstinence) for longer periods of time. This would require at least one more sample to be taken another time. For example you could take a 6cm sample of hair for a 6 month history of alcohol consumption, then take a 3cm sample of hair 6 months later to add another 3 months to the history. This would make a 9 month history that you could take an average from.
It is important to note that signs of consumption do not appear on surface hair for a week, so any hair samples taken would reveal a history of consumption ending at the week before the sample was collected (i.e. you could not use this method to determine a person’s consumption over the past week).
What constitutes ‘chronic excessive’ alcohol consumption?
Testing for excessive alcohol consumption involves analysing an average level of drinking over a specific period of time (of up to 6 months with one sample).
The level of alcohol that will be considered as excessive is the equivalent consumption of 7.5 units or over per day. Another key word here is ‘equivalent’ as the analysis is taken from an average, it does not necessarily mean that alcohol was consumed at that exact level for one day at a time.
Someone could drink at higher levels each day they do so, but have some days off from drinking to achieve the same level of consumption deemed to be excessive. For example a person could theoretically achieve this level of excessive drinking by binge drinking once a week (although this would require 52.5 units of alcohol to be consumed in one day).
The testing of hair for history of consumption does not pin point exact days and times of consumption (it cannot be used as a precise journal-like report of alcohol consumption for specific dates and times) but it does accurately determine whether someone is drinking excessively during a given time frame. It is possible for the testing to be more specific or to test their drinking history for a longer period, but this will require at least one more sample to be taken at another time.
For more general information on this subject visit our alcohol testing pages or if you require more extensive information and guidance on the subject then you should consider our free CPD training that can help solicitors develop their understanding of alcohol testing. This includes when such testing is useful, some of the science behind it and can answer any questions you might have about the subject.
Our free CPD training is flexible, meaning that it can be provided for an individual or for a group, face-to-face or via a webinar presentation. To enquire about our CPD training please visit out CPD training page and fill in the form, call 0333 600 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why should solicitors use AlphaBiolabs?
- We are UKAS ISO 17025 accredited
- Our tests are court approved and can be used for CSA cases and immigration cases too
- We can provide free CPD training to solicitors to raise awareness about the various testing processes and the latest guidelines
- Our Drug Testing can detect a vast number of different substances including some legal highs
- Our Drug & Alcohol testing can establish a history of consumption
- AlphaBiolabs have been operating for over ten years and employ a scientific team led by recognised specialists with many more year’s experience
- We can provide an Expert Witness service for independent interpretations of results
- Our testing uses our own UK based laboratory, free sample collection at our walk-in centres and we beat like-for-like quotes – meaning we are able to keep costs down and provide low prices for you without compromising quality
- Quick turnaround times as standard
Are the results confidential?
Our testing is 100% confidential. We follow strict procedures from start to finish with all of our sample collection. We will not disclose results or personal information to third parties and we password protect all of the data so we will only discuss any details of the testing or the case with those who are entitled to know (on receipt of correct passwords or answers to unique security questions).
When collecting samples, does a doctor or other medical professional need to be involved?
In some specific cases a GP or other medical professional will need to collect the sample for DNA or Drug & Alcohol testing, but this is not always so. If this requirement is not specified within the case then one of our fully qualified sample collectors can visit your client countrywide or they can visit one of our walk-in centres to have their sample collected there.
Our collection and testing process follows a strict chain of custody, is 100% confidential and we are UKAS ISO 17025 accredited so we have court approved testing, even in cases where a doctor or other medical professional is not a requirement.