Evidence is facts and information gathered to indicate that a belief is true. In legal terms, admissible evidence presented is crucial and admitted into record during both civil and criminal proceedings. In criminal law. evidence is used to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In civil law, an element of a case is weighed by the standard of preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt.” What types of evidence are there and which ones are admissible in a court of law?
Types of Evidence:
- Physical Evidence - Evidence from a physical object that is touchable; such as a weapon, DNA, or fingerprints.
- Demonstrative Evidence- Can include graphs, charts, videos, x-rays, models, drawings, photographs, and video.
- Documentary Evidence - Proof presented in writing. (Contracts, wills, and invoices.)
- Testimonial - Testimony that was given or written by a witness under oath.
- Digital Evidence - Proof obtained electronically from emails, hard drives, ATM transactions, cell phone logs, etc...
- Scientific Evidence - Evidence, conforming to the accepted principles of the scientific community.
- Exculpatory Evidence - Used in criminal cases to remove guilt from a defendant.
Essential Legal Terms Relating to Evidence
- Circumstantial Evidence - Proof of one fact from which you could find another truth.
- Direct Evidence - What a witness testifies under oath to seeing, hearing, or feeling.
- Corroborating Evidence - Proof that strengthens already existing and independent evidence.
- Hearsay - Statements made out of court and not under oath. Hearsay is generally deemed inadmissible.
- Exclusionary Rule - Evidence obtained in violation of a defendant’s rights.
A fair trial is our 6th amendment right as American citizens and to ensure a fair trial, the evidence presented must be reasonable. For evidence to be admissible and presentable to a judge and jury, it must meet state or federal court rules. Evidence must be gathered legally and meet standards of reliability and relevance. Any evidence which is unreliable or acquired illegally will not be admissible during a trial and will not go on permanent record.
Examples of Inadmissible Evidence
- Prejudicial Evidence - This type of evidence may weigh heavily on the jury's emotion influencing their decision.
- Hearsay - Witness testimony must be a firsthand account.
- Defendant’s Prior History - Prior crimes unrelated to the case at hand are inadmissible in a court of law.
- Irrelevant Information - Information about a person that is not relevant to the case, will not be admissible in court.
Ronald Chapman, Palm Beach County’s Premier Criminal Defense Attorney
Ronald Chapman knows the importance of reliable and relevant evidence and which types of evidence work best with different charges. He is an experienced defense attorney. If you are accused of a crime and need help, call Ronald Chapman to assist.
Defense Attorney West Palm Beach
Ronald Chapman practices criminal defense in both State and Federal Courts within the State of Florida. Since 1990, Mr. Chapman has been representing people accused of committing various types of crimes. If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, Ronald Chapman can help.
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Ronald S. Chapman, P.A.
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West Palm Beach, FL 33401
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