A person’s world can be turned upside down when charged with a crime. Navigating the criminal justice system can be scary if you do not understand what your legal counsel, the judge and the prosecutor are explaining in court – especially about the evidence being used to try to convict you of the crime in question.

To help our clients comprehend the evidence and the process of admitting and presenting evidence in court, we have created this blog to review the types of evidence commonly used in a criminal case for your reference. 

Evidence traditionally comes in four main areas in a criminal case  – physical evidence, documentary evidence, demonstrative evidence and testimonial evidence.

 Let’s review each of these forms of legal evidence and how you can help your legal counsel in your defense. 

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Physical Evidence 

Physical evidence is also referred to as real evidence in a criminal court case. The types of evidence in this category include anything that the jury can see or touch during the trial. 

Examples of physical evidence include things like DNA evidence, blood samples, fingerprints, weapons used in the crime, video footage, hairs, fibers, glass, paint, and other trace evidence. This type of evidence refers to a wide range of items that could be microscopic or rather large. 

Documentary Evidence 

This form of evidence may also be used in a criminal case. Documentary evidence refers to newspapers, contracts, invoices, letters, diaries, medical reports, witness statements or any other type of document presentable in court. Documentary evidence can also be in digital form such as a surveillance video, email, photograph, or tape recording. 

One of the key components of documentary evidence is how trustworthy it is. Has it come from a reputable source? Can it be corroborated by other witnesses or experts? 

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Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence refers to trial exhibits and items such as diagrams, charts or visual aids that work in conjunction with witness testimony. This can include diagrams of a crime scene, maps and graphs that demonstrate financial or physical injury to someone.

Testimonial Evidence 

If you have ever watched a movie or television program that shows an eyewitness testifying in court about what they saw or heard regarding the crime in question, then you have a basic understanding of testimonial evidence. 

Testimonial evidence specifically refers to a person who has been sworn in under penalty of perjury and agreed to tell the truth about what they saw or heard relating to the crime. The eyewitness will give their view of what they experienced and the jury must decide whether this person’s testimony is accurate and reliable. 

Whether it is physical, documentary, demonstrative or testimonial evidence, a judge has the power to decide if the evidence meets the criteria to be admissible in the criminal case. Do you have questions about the evidence in your court case and require legal counsel before your court case? Talk to our team at the Law Offices of Patrick Conway