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4 main types of evidence in a criminal case

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

If law enforcement personnel arrest you for committing a crime, your life can quickly turn upside down. As you face the charges in court or with a prosecutor, it is important to know what types of evidence the prosecutor has against you, and to watch for signs of contamination of it.

According to the National Institute of Justice, DNA evidence is the type most often contaminated, either by those who collect it, those who transport it or those who process it. This is just one type of evidence.

1. Real evidence

Real evidence is also called physical evidence. This can include the following:

  • Blood samples
  • DNA
  • Weapons
  • Fingerprints
  • Victim’s or alleged perpetrator’s clothing

These are things that a jury can touch and see during a trial.

2. Demonstrative evidence

Demonstrative evidence refers to things such as diagrams and charts 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.

3. Documentary evidence

This is the evidence used during trial to prove or disprove allegations. It may be newspapers, contracts, letters, diaries or any other type of document presentable in court. Documents must be trustworthy and authentic and the judge may determine if this evidence is permissible in court.

4. Testimonial evidence

Often known as eyewitness testimony, testimonial evidence refers to a person who saw the alleged crime and is willing to tell their story. The person is sworn in under oath and must tell the truth to the best of their knowledge or face criminal charges of their own.

Evidence admissibility

A judge can rule any type of evidence as admissible if meets certain criteria. Anything with high prejudicial value faces strict scrutiny by a judge.