Types of Court Evidence

magnifying glass on evidence

The word ‘evidence’ in an investigation could mean information from any number of sources which could be used in a court of law to disprove or prove points. The sources could include witness observation, analysis or even examination of physical items. It could stretch to include relationships between objects, places, and people during the event timelines.

A criminal defense attorney in Everett, WA will typically present such evidence, and the court will use it to infer and conclude about a charge. The court must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Given how relevant evidence is to the whole justice system, there has to be protocols and definitions that dictate how the court will handle proof. Note that all evidence is judged on the persuasive value assigned to it by the court. Primary types include:

Eye witness

If an independent, competent and compellable person was at the scene of the crime, their account might count. However, they have to possess proper mental and physical capabilities to be allowed to recount the events. Such evidence has a high value in court. The court considers things like whether the eye witness is corroborative. Are they competent and compellable to testify? Finally, the witness must have been reasonably independent of the said event.

Physical evidence

Courts will place importance on physical evidence. It is liked because the court may examine the said items and interpret facts for proof. Material evidence could be anything from fingerprints, shoeprints, weapons, hair, fiber, tool impressions or even body fluids. Such evidence will be studied by professionals who will offer courts an informed opinion that connects the item to a place, criminal event, or a person. That way, the court can factor in circumstantial connections. For instance, if a DNA test matches a victim’s blood found on the clothing of the suspect, courts make a connection if there is no alternative explanation.

Relevant evidence

gathering physical evidence

Relevant evidence draws lines between things that would otherwise not be considered in the case. Both circumstantial and direct evidence may be deemed to be relevant if they relate to the offense. Courts will need proof that the evidence relates to the accused, the time, place or perhaps the criminal act in question. Typically, the prosecution will present an exhibit or a form of testimony by a witness and then tell the court the perceived meaning.

Direct evidence

This is evidence proving a fact without needing any circumstantial interpretation. If the evidence can show courts something without needing to rely on assumptions or inferences, it is direct. For instance, an eye witness who sees a person shoot another could offer direct evidence. In the same manner, a video feed from security cameras could be all courts need to pass judgment.

Sometimes courts may have to rely on evidence that is not direct. Such evidence will not prove an offense but is interpreted alongside other evidence that all together prove guilt. It is common that some types of evidence do not make it to court, as they are not considered strong enough. Note that in a court of law, when a thing is proved which you can ascertain from experience to cause another thing, the court will presume it happened.

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