Direct Evidence

The most powerful type of evidence, direct evidence requires no inference. The evidence
alone is the proof. This could be the testimony of a witness who saw first-hand an incident
of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Documentary Evidence

Most commonly considered to be written forms of proof, such as letters or wills,
documentary evidence can also include other types of media, such as images, video or audio
recordings, etc.

Exculpatory Evidence

This type of evidence can exonerate a defendant in a – usually criminal – case. Prosecutors
and police are required to disclose to the defendant any exculpatory evidence they find or
risk having the case dismissed.

Forensic Evidence

Forensic Evidence is scientific evidence, such as DNA, trace evidence, fingerprints or
ballistics reports, and can provide proof to establish a person’s guilt or innocence. Forensic
evidence is generally considered to be strong and reliable evidence and alongside helping to
convict criminals, its role in exonerating the innocent has been well documented. The term
“forensic” means “for the courts”. Its use in workplace investigations is generally limited to
serious cases that may end up in court.

Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay evidence consists of statements made by witnesses who are not present. While
hearsay evidence is not admissible in court, it can be relevant and valuable in a workplace
investigation where the burden of proof is less robust than in court.

This type of evidence is based on research or polls. fingerprints. evidence that is in the form of a tangible object. Statistical Evidence Evidence that uses numbers (or statistics) to support a position is called statistical evidence. Prima Facie Evidence Meaning “on its first appearance” this is evidence presented before a trial that is enough to prove something until it is successfully disproved or rebutted at trial. It can be presented in court as an exhibit of a physical object. or tire casts from a crime scene. Physical evidence is also known as “real” or “material” evidence. described in text. This is also called “presumptive evidence”. Testimonial Evidence . captured in still or moving images. rope purportedly used to strangle someone. Physical Evidence As would be expected. is considered to be physical evidence. audio or video or referred to in documents. such as a firearm.

wills. etc.). Demonstrative Evidence: This is a common form of proof. Digital Evidence: In recent years. among others. ATM transactions. Exculpatory Evidence: Typically used in criminal cases. sculptures. etc. documentary evidence consists of any proof that can be presented in writing (contracts. and so forth. hard drives. Failure to do so can result in the case being dismissed. Physical Evidence: Quite simply. DNA samples. It can be gathered in court. recordings.). and models. a murder weapon. this is either spoken or written evidence given by a witness under oath. In the United States. In criminal proceedings. x- rays. it literally means "on its first appearance". . 2004). above. printed emails. fingerprints. generally having the form of the representation of an object. Documentary Evidence: Similar to demonstrative evidence. whether whole or in part. it is any type of proof that can be obtained from an electronic source. instant message logs. graphs. word processing documents. it is their duty to disclose it to the defendant. invoices.One of the most common forms of evidence. maps. videos. such as emails. such evidence might consist of dried blood. However. the use of digital evidence in trials has greatly increased. at a deposition or through an affidavit. either partially or totally removing their guilt in the case. charts. casts of footprints or tires at the scene of the crime. simulations. In Latin. and so forth. term can technically include any number of media upon which such documentation can be recorded and stored (photographs. sound recordings. films. Examples include: photographs. and such evidence is generally deemed sufficient to prove a particular proposition or fact if it is not refuted by later evidence or argumentation. Simply put. if the prosecutor or police have found evidence. Prima Facie Evidence: This is "evidence sufficient to establish a claim or defense until rebutted by contrary evidence" (Blackwell. this type of evidence is any proof introduced in the form of a physical object. cell phone logs. drawings. this type of evidence is that which favors the defendant.

such as a weapon) Demonstrative (a model of what likely happened at a given time and place) Documentary (a letter. There are four general types of evidence: Real evidence (tangible things. then that evidence (and any other evidence it leads to) may not be used at trial. admissibility. solemnly swears to tell the truth under the penalty of perjury. video surveillance recordings. 2004). Additionally. If evidence is procured illegally. weight and sufficiency of what should be admitted into the record of a legal proceeding.Scientific Evidence: Evidence submitted to the court claiming to be scientific in nature must first conform to generally-accepted principles of the scientific community. evidence may be thrown out if the integrity of its handling ("chain of custody") is in doubt. 2005). Definition of Evidence In legal terms. Generally. This is one of the most common forms of evidence in the legal system. Evidence -- crucial in both civil and criminal proceedings -. or written evidence given under oath through an affidavit" (Blackwell. Evidence that is deemed irrelevant or prejudicial to a case also may be deemed inadmissible.may include blood or hair samples. blog post. a witness is called forth. or other document) . relevance. Testimony: This is the "spoken evidence given by a witness under oath in court or at a deposition. or witness testimony. evidence covers the burden of proof. The Federal Rules of Evidence (PDF) govern the admissibility of evidence in federal trials. but state rules of evidence are largely modeled after the federal rules. such as during an unlawful police search. judges must now insure that such evidence is also reliable (Bergman and Berman- Barrett. In addition.

Testimonial (witness testimony) Terms to Know Circumstantial Evidence: Evidence that tends to prove a factual matter by proving other events or circumstances from which the occurrence of the matter can be reasonably inferred. There are two basic factors that are considered when determining whether evidence is admissible or not: Relevant – The evidence must prove or disprove an important fact in the criminal case. your attorney may challenge and/or try to suppress evidence presented by the other party. Practice Area Notes If you are a defendant in either a criminal or civil trial." But for a civil defendant to be found liable. . it is considered "irreelvant" and is therefore inadmissible. Exclusionary Rule: A rule of evidence that excludes or suppresses evidence obtained in violation of a defendant's constitutional rights. the prosecution must prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt. Corroborating Evidence: Evidence that is independent of and different from but that supplements and strengthens evidence already presented as proof of a factual matter. For a guilty verdict in a criminal trial. If the evidence doesn't relate to a particular fact. The main difference between the use of evidence in criminal and civil cases is the burden of proof . One of your attorney's most vital tasks is to find evidence that best supports your case. Hearsay: A statement made out of court and not under oath which is offered as proof that what is stated is true (usually deemed inadmissible). the plaintiff generally need only prove culpability "by a preponderance of the evidence" (a lower threshold).

This usually applies to witness testimony.A formal allegation of criminal wrongdoing Indictment .A defendant can only be convicted if the jury believes the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Miranda rights consist of the right to remain silent. to have an attorney present during any police questioning. the highest burden of proof in our legal system Plea bargain .A formal charge authorized by a grand jury Arraignment . informed of the charges.A crime with a punishment less severe than a felony. usually punishable by less than a year in jail Infraction .A pretrial proceeding in which a person accused of committing a crime is brought into court.A minor offense or administrative violation usually punishable only by a fine Reasonable doubt .A serious crime punishable by more than a year in prison Misdemeanor . terms to Know Charge .Reliable – Reliability refers to the credibility of a source that is being used as evidence. and asked to plead guilty or not guilty Felony .The process by which a defendant and prosecutor negotiate a compromise. the defendant typically pleads guilty to one or more offenses in exchange for a lighter sentence or dismissal of other pending charges Miranda rights .The rights that an arresting officer must advise a suspect of before the suspect is questioned by police. and to have an attorney provided by the state at no expense if the suspect can't afford one .