A witness, for example, who claims to have seen a defendant knife a victim is offering direct evidence. A witness reporting she observed a defendant enter a residence, hear screams, and see the defendant depart with a bloodied knife, on the other hand, is circumstantial evidence. Blood at the scene, another knife similar in size and shape to the one used in the crime, and the testimony of other witnesses all supporting the testimony of the witness as to what they saw, are all elements commonly found in circumstantial evidence cases.
Circumstantial evidence is any evidence that does not directly prove the allegations contained in a lawsuit but gives rise to an inference or conclusion about the facts. For example, if I claim my car was stolen and find it abandoned in a parking lot, this is direct evidence that my car was stolen. If I do not testify as to how my car was stolen, this is indirect evidence that my car was stolen. Finally, if I tell police my car was stolen and they locate the missing vehicle several states away, this is circumstantial evidence that my car was stolen.
Direct evidence is evidence which proves the fact in question without reliance on inference or presumption. For example, if I pull a knife on someone and show them that it is real, this is direct evidence that I committed the crime of assault with a deadly weapon.
Circumstantial evidence is typically viewed as forensic evidence provided by an expert witness. A forensic scientist, for example, may produce ballistic test findings indicating that the defendant's firearm discharged the rounds that killed the victim, but not necessarily that the defendant fired the shots. The forensic scientist might conclude this because of damage to the gun or lack of evidence that other guns were used in the crime.
Bullets are the visible remains of a bullet when it has hit something. They can be recovered at the scene of the crime. Examining these bullets can help police identify the type of weapon that was used and find out who owned it. Bullets can also reveal information about the shooter's age, gender, and physical condition. Police may use this evidence to make their job easier if they have doubts about which suspect should be arrested or which person should be questioned first.
Bullets are useful tools for police to determine what type of weapon was used in a crime. If a gun is found at the scene, police can estimate how recently it was fired by looking at the amount of lead in the cartridge cases. Cases with more lead indicate a recent shooting while those with less lead could come from weapons fired many days or weeks earlier.
Police can also use bullets to identify the race of the shooter. Black powder burns deep into the skin so officers would need to recover the bullet to see this evidence.
Direct evidence is a type of evidence that is frequently presented in the form of witness testimony or firsthand reports. Direct evidence is when a person testifies that he or she witnessed an accused conduct a crime, heard another person say a specific word or words, or observed an accused do a crime. Police officers are often called upon to be witnesses in criminal cases and their testimony is considered direct evidence.
Indirect evidence consists of facts or statements that prove or disprove a fact without directly stating it. For example, if someone tells police officers that John did not commit the crime, this statement is indirect evidence that can lead detectives to find other evidence proving or disproving guilt. Indirect evidence can also include clues such as fingerprints at the scene of the crime or traces of blood at a location where no blood was found during the initial investigation. These items may lead investigators to discover other evidence that helps them make a conclusion about what happened.
In law enforcement, eyewitnesses are usually not required to come forward and testify. Instead, they can submit affidavits or declarations under penalty of perjury stating that they saw certain events occur. These statements are called "direct evidence." Police officers are often called upon to be witnesses in criminal cases and their testimony is considered "direct" evidence.
In legal proceedings, direct evidence is proof that requires no inferences to conclude that a fact exists.
The presenting of evidence is at the heart of the case. There are two kinds of evidence: direct evidence and indirect evidence. Eyewitness testimonies, confessions, and firearms are all examples of direct evidence. Indirect evidence includes facts derived from witnesses' statements or physical evidence like photographs.
Confessions are an important type of evidence in criminal cases. A confession can be very powerful evidence because it admits guilt by saying "I did it." Even if someone claims they didn't do it, but instead blamed someone else, a guilty conscience will make them admit to something else. A confession is powerful evidence because it removes the need for the jury to decide issues of credibility when evaluating other types of evidence.
In addition to eyewitness testimony and confessions, evidence is also often presented through photographs, videos, documents, and buildings. For example, if police find a gun at the scene of a crime, that's direct evidence that the person who committed the crime possessed the gun. If during their investigation police discover paperwork relating to the sale of guns, that's indirect evidence that can help connect people to the crime.
Evidence is anything that helps prove or disprove some fact at issue in the case. The three main categories of evidence are factual, expert, and demonstrative. Factual evidence consists of things like documents, photos, and audio/video tapes that show what happened.