Texas Forensic Science Commission

Justice Through Science

Disciplines Subject to and Exempt from Commission Accreditation

Disciplines and sub-disciplines that are subject to Commission accreditation are listed by rule in § 651.005 and § 651.006 of the Texas Administrative Code.

Disciplines Subject to Commission Accreditation:

  • Controlled substances, including marijuana, precursor analysis, and clandestine laboratory analysis.
  • Toxicology, including forensic toxicology, urine drug testing, and blood alcohol analysis.
  • Biology, including biology, serology, and DNA.
  • Firearms/toolmark, including firearms, ballistics, and toolmarks.
  • Questioned documents, including questioned documents, handwriting, and ink analysis.
  • Trace evidence, including fire debris, explosives, fibers, gunshot residue, glass, hairs, paint, filaments, and unknown substances.
  • Other discipline if approved by a recognized accrediting body and the Director.

Exempted Forensic Analyses:

The disciplines and types of testing/activities that have noted exceptions (by statute, by administrative rule, or by determination of DPS (now the Commission)) include:

1. By Statute:

    • Latent print examination.
    • Breath alcohol analysis under Chapter 724, Transportation Code.
    • Digital evidence.
    • Forensic pathology, not including toxicology or other laboratory associated with the office of a medical examiner.
    • Expert examination or test conducted principally for the purpose of scientific research, medical practice, or civil or administrative litigation, and which is typically for a purpose unrelated to determining the connection of physical evidence to a criminal action.
    • Presumptive test performed for the purpose of determining compliance with a term or condition of community supervision or parole and conducted by or under contract with a community supervision and corrections department, the parole division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, or the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

    2. By Administrative Rule:

      • Act of locating, identifying, collecting, or preserving physical evidence by laboratory or investigative personnel (crime scene search team) unless the activity is integral to an expert examination or test.
      • Field, spot, screening, or other presumptive testing unless the activity is integral to an expert examination or test for which an expert opinion is rendered.
      • Sexual assault examination of the person.
      • Forensic anthropology, entomology, or botany.
      • Environmental testing.
      • Facial or traffic accident reconstruction.
      • Forensic photography.
      • Serial number restoration.
      • Polygraph examination.
      • Voice stress, voiceprint, or similar voice analysis.
      • Forensic hypnosis.
      • Statement analysis.
      • Profiling.
      • Non-criminal paternity testing.
      • Non-criminal testing of human or nonhuman blood, urine, or tissue.

      3. By Determination of DPS (now the Commission)

        • Viral DNA testing (i.e., HIV). Exempted 01-29-2008.
        • Forensic engineering (failure analysis of plastic bags). 
        • Exempted 08-04-2008.
        • Forensic engineering (examination and analysis of electrical appliances). Exempted 04-25-2011.
        • Testing blood samples for the presence of sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Exempted 07-20-2011.
        • Bacterial DNA testing (i.e. Haemophilus influenza).
        • Exempted 04-04-2012.
        • Testing to determine the presence of feces or the presence of urine (Limited Scope of Testing). Exempted April 18, 2012.
        • Testing SmartWater CSI, LLC product (Proprietary product). Exempted September 25, 2013.

        Any requests for exemption shall be submitted in writing to the Commission. Requests should include the specific type of testing for which an exemption is being requested, as well as the justification and/or reasoning as to why it should be exempted.

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