FDLE Home / Forensics > Forensic Submission FAQ > Document Examination FAQ

Submission FAQ
Document Examination

Can you submit a questioned document for examination if
you do not have a subject or known writing?

A: Yes. The handwriting present on the document can be evaluated for suitability for comparison with known writing. The document can also be examined to recover indented handwriting or office machine impressions, and examine the ink and paper to establish the authenticity of the document.

Can you submit machine copies or do you need originals for

A: Ideally, the original will be the BEST evidence. However, we can examine machine copies of either the questioned or known documents, but when originals can be obtained, they should be submitted. If submitting machine copies, submit the best quality available.        

Can you determine sex, race, psychological state,
personality traits or intent from the examination of handwriting?

A: No. Examination of handwriting involves a side-by-side comparison of questioned writing with known writing in order to determine the source of the questioned writing.

Can I email you the documents I want you to examine?

A: No. All items submitted to the Document Examination Section will be treated as evidence and must adhere to the guidelines in accordance with the FDLE Crime Laboratory Evidence Submission Manual. Media storage devices containing your digital images should be submitted as evidence. 

How many known writings/exemplars do you need?

A: Our suggestions for the amount of known writing needed are as follows:

  • Questioned Signature: 25+ of the questioned signature with strong hand, 1 weak hand;
  • Questioned Checks: 25+ of the questioned text with the strong hand, 1 weak hand;
  • Questioned Paragraph: 10+ repetitions of the questioned paragraph with the strong hand, 1 weak hand;
  • Questioned Page: 3+ full repetitions of the questioned page with the strong hand, 1 selected paragraph weak hand;
  • Questioned Letter/multi-page document: 5 repetitions of selected paragraphs (2 or 3 paragraphs from each page) with the strong hand and 1 paragraph with the weak hand or 3 full repetitions of all pages.


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