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Direct and Circumstantial Evidence in Criminal Cases

Evidence can make or break a criminal case, and anyone facing a criminal trial needs to know how different types of evidence could affect the outcome – and how that evidence needs to be collected and presented. Two main types of evidence are admissible in court: direct and circumstantial. If the evidence is not presented well and doesn’t meet standards that would show it’s reliable, that can take the court case in unexpected directions.

Direct evidence shows that someone really did do (or didn’t do) something. A security video of a break-in at a store, for example, that gets a good shot of the offender’s face, would be direct evidence. This type of evidence can be derailed by technicalities; for example, a recording of a person admitting they committed a crime that was taken in a two-party state without the suspect’s knowledge (and without law-enforcement warrants that might allow recording without that person’s knowledge) could be deemed inadmissible because it violated state law.

Circumstantial evidence is that which shows a likely connection but doesn’t definitively prove the suspect is guilty or not guilty. Security video showing the suspect in the vicinity of a crime scene, but not actually committing the crime or doing anything that could reasonably be called suspicious, is circumstantial. It establishes that the suspect was in the area, but it doesn’t actually prove that the suspect committed the crime.

If you’re facing criminal charges and insist that you did not commit the crime, you need to know how to fight evidence that makes you look guilty. You also need to know how to present evidence that could prove you were not guilty, and you need to know how to do that legally so that your evidence doesn’t get thrown out on a technicality.

The attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices can help you. Contact them at (608) 256-8356 and arrange to speak to them to see how your case needs to be handled.


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The Information Contained In This Site Is Not Intended To Provide Legal Advice. Please Consult An Attorney To Discuss The Facts Of Your Individual Situation. Eisenberg Law Office, S.C. 308 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703 USA (608) 256-8356