Criminal Justice Essays on Types of Legal Evidence

Types of Legal Evidence

Evidence is anything presented with the aim of supporting an assertion. In any legal proceeding facts are required to proof a claim. The evidence presented should be relevant to the investigation undertaken. There are different types of evidence that can be used to support or go against a statement (Prakken & Kaptein, 2016). This paper discusses the various types of evidence used in legal proceedings, the common misconceptions on evidence, and important qualities of a good evidence.

Broadly, evidence is classified as either circumstantial or direct. Facts that provide proof inferring existence or non-existence of other facts is referred to circumstantial evidence. Such evidence provides proofs by relating other situations that bear an agreeable inference leading to the occurrence of an event. The proof helps investigators to draw inferences regarding a claim or an event (Edmond, 2016). However, this type of evidence only affirms an event rather than supporting whether a person is guilty or not guilty.

With regard to direct evidence, facts are given on the basis of what was observed by the witness. The accused can be proven guilty as a result of the direct evidence provided. Such proof must be a real and clear with no assumptions. Direct evidence stands by its own to give affirmation hence no inferences are required.  The investigator provides first-hand information either in written or speech form. Whether direct of circumstantial, evidence can be given orally, in the form of a documentary, witness statements, physical evidence, and expert reports.

People have different misconceptions about evidence. For instance, some individuals believe that evidence-based practice ignores the expertise and knowledge. It is believed that witnesses combine their experience with facts gathered from different sources to reach a conclusion. However, those involved need to be aware of the limitations of their own experience when making a decision. Another misconception is that evidence is always used to prove things (Edmond, 2016). However, the truth is that evidence is also used to disapprove an assertion.

For an evidence to be useful, it must bear some qualities. For instance, good evidence should be related to the puzzle being investigated. The investigator should have a specific intention.  Further, the meaning of the evidence and its significance should be known to all the parties involved (Edmond, 2016). Any good evidence should be designed to provide a solution to questions raised by the institutions. Where possible, facts used as evidence should be obtained from multiple sources.

If investigators fail to recognize evidence or signs of an incident, there is a high probability that the prosecution will fail. This may lead to a denial of justice to the aggrieved parties. As soon as the investigator is instructed on where to carry out the investigation and all necessary documents are provided, the exercise of gathering facts commences immediately (Prakken & Kaptein, 2016). Facts are collected from the one which is most fragile to the most permanent ones. Once the evidence has been collected, the information is preserved immediately to avoid distortion. Failure to protect the information can lead to contamination of the main evidence. This may lead to poor judgment, hence convicting the wrong people and denying others justice.

In conclusion, courts rely on evidence provided by witnesses to rule cases. Evidence is generally defined as anything used to support or disapprove a claim. Evidence is categorized as either circumstantial or direct. Any good evidence should bear some qualities such as he ability to relate to the matter being investigated and obtained from multiple sources. Evidence can be given orally, in form of a documentary, hearsay, or in written form.



Edmond, G. (2016). Legal versus non-legal approaches to forensic science evidence. The International Journal of Evidence & Proof20(1), 3-28.

Prakken, H., & Kaptein, H. (Eds.). (2016). Legal evidence and proof: statistics, stories, logic. Routledge.