What Are the Different Types of Evidence in Criminal Cases?

The two main types of evidence the prosecution will present in court during criminal proceedings are direct evidence and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is evidence which supports a crime has been committed and was committed by the accused. Circumstantial evidence, on the other hand, relies upon suggesting a certain series of events took place and were committed by the accused.

While all evidence is classified as either direct or circumstantial, there are several forms of evidence both the prosecution and your Ottawa criminal defence lawyer can use to further the case. The objective of the prosecuting Crown lawyers is to establish and prove you committed the criminal offence beyond all reasonable doubt. The objective of your criminal defence lawyer is to use evidence to challenge the reasonability you committed the crime and create doubt that you may not have actually committed the offence.

Forms of Evidence

  • Physical Evidence – This form of evidence is used to prove specific facts in regards to the offence. Physical evidence could include fingerprints, DNA, bodily fluids, blood, clothing, weapons, documents, and so on.
  • Digital Evidence – Digital evidence has grown as technology has advanced. This form of evidence includes emails, text messages, online browsing histories, digital transaction logs, and more. Essentially, anything that is an electronic device which keeps digital history is considered digital evidence. For instance, the GPS locator built in to most smartphones could be used as digital evidence to substantiate your location while the offence was being committed.
  • Scientific Evidence – The scientific interpretation of evidence, along with expert testimony could potentially be used to explain the occurrence of events related to the offence.
  • Exculpatory Evidence – This form of evidence has to be disclosed by the prosecution or police prior to going to trial. It normally clears the person accused of the crime as there will be conflicts between the exculpatory evidence and other evidence, which create reasonable doubt.
  • Genetic Evidence – Genetic evidence is a form of evidence that is obtained as a comparison to physical evidence gathered at the crime scene. For instance, unknown DNA evidence was found at the crime scene, and in order to determine who’s DNA it is, DNA could be collected from the suspect and tested for verification. If the test results match the DNA evidence found, then the DNA test is presented as supporting genetic evidence.
  • Documentary Evidence – This form of evidence is any type of media, such as video, audio, photographs, or paper-based documents. For example, you have been charged with criminal harassment and the prosecution uses pictures you took of the victim as documentary evidence to establish you were stalking the victim.
  • Eyewitness and Testimony Evidence – Both of these forms of evidence are obtained from others who were present while the crime was committed or can provide relevant information to further support your guilt or innocence, such as a co-worker stating under oath you were eating lunch with them during the time the crime was alleged to have taken place.

As you can see there are numerous forms of evidence that can be used to build a case against you, as well as build a strategic defence to criminal charges. If you or someone you love has been charged with a criminal offence, you need to contact an experienced and skilled criminal defence lawyer in Ottawa, like Céline Dostlaer. Call 613-695-8595 now to schedule a free 30-minute case evaluation and consultation appointment.