The American judicial system is based on the premise that you are innocent until proven guilty. The ruling is primarily hinged on evidence as it establishes a person’s innocence or guilt. Both the defendant and the plaintiff present their evidence to the court.
However, not all evidence carries the same weight. Some types of evidence will guarantee that you are convicted. In contrast, others cannot be presented legally in court. Discussed below are the four types of evidence you should know.
1. Real Evidence
Physical evidence that is intimately linked to the case facts is called real evidence. The jury must examine such proof tangibly. Common examples include guns, DNA, knives, blood samples, fingerprints, and other material artifacts.
The material must have been connected to the crime to qualify as real evidence. Therefore, real evidence is arguably the most central piece in a trial as it proves or disproves your case.
Due to its importance, a lawyer must thoroughly scrutinize physical evidence to ensure it is authentic, relevant, and material to the case. This process is called laying the foundation. Your lawyer must demonstrate to the jury the object’s chain of custody using witnesses.
2. Testimonial Statements
Testimonial statements are sometimes called Testimonial Hearsay. This type of evidence entails both verbal and nonverbal accounts that you may make in various formal settings. They must be verifiable.
A famous example of out-of-court hearsay is the statement you may give to a police officer. Police officers tell you that anything you say can and will be used against you in court because your words serve as evidence. In addition, if you speak to other government officials, such statement count as evidence.
Furthermore, every statement you give in court, such as speaking before a jury, can be testimonial evidence. Other forms of evidence include legally binding writings such as contracts, depositions, and affidavits. The more formal, the more credible the evidence appears.
Casual statements given to family, friends, co-workers, or even strangers are not testimonial evidence. Even 911 calls are not testimonials.
3. Demonstrative Evidence
As the name suggests, this type of evidence is primarily visual. Demonstrative evidence visually conceptualizes a witness’s testimony and can take the form of diagrams and charts. Both the defendant and the plaintiff can create and present this type of evidence to support their case.
Demonstrative evidence is only admissible if it can reasonably and correctly depict a witness’s statement. Otherwise, the court will not accept this type of evidence.
Examples of demonstrative evidence include diagrams of a crime scene, pictures of a weapon, and tables that visualize a person’s financial damage.
4. Documentary Evidence
Documentary evidence entails all evidence containing letters, figures, and remarks presented to the court. This type of evidence describes all kinds of documents irrespective of the language used.
Documentary evidence can be either in the form of a primary or secondary source. When an original document is given to the court for inspection, it constitutes primary evidence. On the other hand, an authenticated copy of an original copy serves as secondary evidence. Secondary evidence also includes a witness’s oral statements regarding the contents written in primary documentary evidence.
The court employs strict measures to ensure the authenticity of both primary and secondary documentary sources. As a result, oral accounts about the contents of a particular document are thoroughly scrutinized to ensure that the information presented is accurate.
You need evidence to prove your case in court. The types of evidence discussed above broadly cover all the evidence you might need to argue your innocence. At Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, we offer all kinds of personal legal counsel. Contact us today if you need any form of legal representation.