Criminal Defense

26 Types of Evidence Used in Criminal Trials

July 12, 2022 by Mikel Rastegar in Criminal Defense  
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Evidence in Criminal Trials

When used in the context of an inquiry, the term “evidence” refers to a wide variety of sources of information that might be used to establish or deny issues in dispute before the prosecution. Evidence can come from various places, from the testimonies of individuals to the scientific investigation of artifacts.

Timelines can also incorporate the geographical interactions between individuals, locations, and things. To determine whether or not an accusation has been conclusively established, the court must review the evidence and reach its conclusions.

In light of the importance of evidence in the judicial system, several definitions and standards have been developed to guide the process of defining evidence for judicial consideration.

26 Types of Evidence:

1. Admissible Evidence

All evidence that can be submitted in court is admissible. The judge decides whether to incorporate certain evidence before the trial.

2. Inadmissible evidence

Inadmissible evidence is what the judge deems unacceptable, like those improperly obtained, prejudiced, irrelevant, or hearsay.

3. Real / Physical Evidence

Real evidence contains something the jury may hold and view. Real/Physical evidence includes a weapon, a shoe print, tire traces, or tiny fabric threads from the suspect’s clothes.

4. Individual Physical Evidence

Individual and class evidence fall under physical evidence. Individual evidence has distinct physical features. Fingerprints, DNA, and bullet striations are individual evidence.

5. Class Physical Evidence

Class-specific physical evidence has group-specific properties. Blood type, shoe tread patterns, and gun make and model are class evidence. Such evidence helps limit suspects, weapons, etc.

6. Documentary Evidence

Documentary evidence is submitted at trial to establish or refute claims. These documents might be diaries, letters, contracts, newspapers, or other forms.

7. Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence like charts and illustrations show witness testimony. When correct and probative, it’s acceptable. Maps, crime scene layouts, charts, and graphs depict the plaintiff’s injury. Opposing counsel may also use the same evidence.

8. Testimonial Evidence

Testimonial evidence is the oral statement of a witness made on oath in open court and put forward as evidence of its truth.

9. Digital Evidence

Digital evidence includes any digital or electronic evidence. Texts, emails, phone calls, documents, and hard drive data.

10. Direct Evidence

Direct evidence is personal to the witness, such as something they do, see, hear, or touch. When hearing direct evidence, the court and jury must be able to decide on the information alone.

11. Circumstantial Evidence

Circumstantial evidence draws inferences from occurrences or facts. Circumstantial evidence is a combination of events that leads to a conviction or more than a suspicion.

12. Statistical Evidence

Statistics are used in jury trials to prove or refute guilt or innocence. Statistics establish possibilities or correlations; thus, jurors may see a statistic’s link to a crime differently.

13. Presumptive Evidence

Presumptive evidence leverages other crime scene evidence to establish a reasonable assumption.

14. Impression Evidence

Imprint evidence refers to crime scene imprints that may link a defendant to a crime, like the victim’s footprints in the soil.

15. Character Evidence

Character evidence shows a person’s moral status based on their communal reputation.

16. Habit Evidence

Habit evidence is a person’s repeated response to certain situations. It illustrates how a person would conduct in a comparable circumstance in court.

17. Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay evidence is an assertion that wasn’t made in court but is proof of what was said.

18. Forensic Evidence

Forensic evidence helps criminal prosecutions since it is knowledge-based. Forensic evidence, like DNA, fingerprint, hair, and fiber, has been theorized, tested, and accepted.

19. Trace Evidence

When two items touch, trace evidence is formed. Gunshot residue, hair, fibers, dirt, timber, and pollen are trace evidence.

20. Expert Witness Evidence

Witness statements and expert reports are written statements from witnesses and reports from experts that are used as evidence in court.

21. Corroborating Evidence

Corroborative evidence supports another piece’s significance, validity, or authenticity. It can be physical, like a DNA sample matching a victim’s DNA or two independent witness testimonies matching.

22. Insufficient Evidence

In court, prosecutors must prove their claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Unconvincing evidence is insufficient.

23. Inculpatory Evidence

Inculpatory evidence incriminates an accused person. Inculpatory evidence might be found in a victim’s complaint, physical evidence, witness testimony, or circumstantial links.

24. Exculpatory Evidence

Exculpatory evidence shows a defendant’s innocence. Brady Rule violations occur when prosecutors withhold exculpatory evidence.

25. Anecdotal Evidence

These are evidenced through tales in which individuals talk about their experiences. These arguments lack empirical evidence.

26. Propensity Evidence

The term “propensity evidence” refers to evidence of one crime demonstrating that the accused is likely to have committed a second crime.

Investigators must understand the legal definitions, types, and weighting of evidence. Evidence must be located, gathered, documented, preserved, confirmed, examined, disclosed, and presented in a court-admissible form.

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