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UNDERSTANDING EVIDENCE
IN A CRIMINAL TRIAL

Wolfe Law Group, LLC May 6, 2022

Regardless of whether or not criminal charges have been officially handed down, many people are familiar with the phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt." This phrase is formally known in legal terms as “presumption of innocence.” This principle means that any individual charged with a crime is assumed to be innocent until they have been conclusively proven guilty in a court of law.

If you are facing criminal charges and want to know more about what evidence can be presented in a trial, speaking with a skilled criminal defense attorney is important. Even if the evidence is stacked against you, a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will work to uphold your rights and determine what evidence can be used to prove — or disprove — key facts of your case. At Wolfe Law Group, LLC, the attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and tools necessary to assist you in understanding evidence in a criminal trial.  

Wolfe Law Group, LLC, proudly serves clients across Columbus, Ohio, and surrounding areas of Dublin, Westerville, Gahanna, and Hilliard.

What Is Evidence?

Evidence is any information or object presented in a trial to attempt to convince a judge or jury of an allegation or a specific point. Evidence can include:

  • Witness testimony

  • Written statements

  • Audio or video recordings

  • Photographs

  • Physical objects (clothing, weapons, documents)

  • Digital evidence, which can include both data and the media storing it

  • Scientific data (including blood tests or DNA)

  • Displays, charts, or models

People often do not understand that the testimony of one witness is considered evidence and may be enough to result in a conviction. This is why working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical. 

Direct Evidence

Direct evidence demonstrates that the accused individual committed the crime in question. Examples include:

  • Security camera footage showing a crime being committed

  • Recorded audio of someone admitting to a crime

  • Ballistics tests showing a bullet matches a firearm

  • Testimony from eyewitnesses

  • Fingerprints belonging to the defendant being found on a weapon

  • Computer records proving a crime was committed

Circumstantial Evidence

If actual, physical evidence of a crime is not present, the prosecution will end up presenting evidence that implies that the defendant committed the crime in question. This is called “circumstantial” evidence and can include evidence such as:

  • Eyewitness testimony

  • Fingerprints at the crime scene

  • Audio recordings of the accused individual stating an intent to commit the crime

  • Emails or text messages sent between parties involved in the crime

  • Web browser search history showing information about the type of crime the defendant is accused of committing

Though single pieces of circumstantial evidence are likely not enough to show guilt, a collection of such evidence can be convincing to a jury.

Relevant Evidence

For any evidence to be legally admissible in court, it must be:

  1. Material — Evidence proving a disputed point to be factual

  2. Competent — Evidence from sources the court views as reliable

  3. Relevant — Evidence that can reasonably be considered to be related to the case

If evidence meets the criteria listed above, it can be submitted in court.

Inadmissible Evidence 

One of the more important responsibilities a criminal defense attorney bears is making sure unrelated evidence is not allowed to be presented. 

Evidence can be ruled inadmissible under the following circumstances:

  • The evidence was improperly obtained

  • The evidence has a high prejudicial value

  • The evidence is hearsay

  • The evidence is not relevant

In many cases, a prosecutor will try to present evidence to cast a defendant in a poor light. Some tactics include portraying someone as being late in paying bills, being unfaithful to their spouse, and other issues to claim that the defendant is a bad person and therefore more likely to have committed the crime with which they have been charged.

A well-versed criminal defense attorney will be aware of these tricks. It’s your lawyer’s job to fight for your rights and ensure that inadmissible evidence is identified and kept from being used against you.

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney 

In some instances, evidence law enforcement claims to have against you is either fabricated or not legally admissible. For this reason, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as you can.

To get help, contact the Wolfe Law Group, LLC today. 

Regardless of the nature of the allegations against you, don’t risk your future. Work with an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Wolfe Law Group, LLC, you can receive protection for your rights according to the law. The firm serves clients in the counties of Licking, Newark, Heath, Granville, Fairfield, Lancaster, Pickerington, Delaware, City of Delaware, Louis Center, and Powell, Ohio. To schedule a confidential consultation with the Wolfe Law Group, LLC, reach out today