5 Types of Evidence You Might Come Across as a Paralegal

  • Paralegal Studies
  • March 12, 2024
  • 3 min read
paralegal woman working in a case

Working as a paralegal means working in a critical behind the scenes role, processing and handling different types of evidence that can prove vital in helping lawyers crack their cases. 

In this article, we’ll be looking at five of the most common types of evidence you can expect to be working with as a paralegal.

Direct evidence 

Direct evidence is one of the most common forms of evidence that you can expect to be dealing with. Alongside circumstantial evidence, direct evidence makes up one of the two types of so-called “primary evidence”.

The exact nature of direct evidence varies, but at its most basic direct evidence is any evidence that directly links the defendant to any crime for which they’re on trial, without any need for inference.

One of the more common types of direct evidence is eyewitness testimony of the crime.

Circumstantial Evidence

The second category of primary evidence, circumstantial evidence is evidence that implies a person committed a crime, rather than directly connecting them to it.

Where eyewitness testimony of the defendant actually committing the crime is direct evidence, the same testimony of the defendant fleeing the scene of the crime would count as circumstantial evidence. This is because the jury would have to infer from that evidence that the defendant was fleeing because they had committed the crime.

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence is any evidence found at the scene of the crime that links the defendant to the crime itself or the area in which the crime was committed. Shoe prints, tire prints, hair, blood, weapons, clothing, and belonging are the most common types of physical evidence.

Forensic Evidence

Occasionally referred to as scientific evidence, forensic evidence is any evidence that has come to light through the use of scientific methods. Thanks to TV programs like CSI, most people will recognize the more common types of forensic evidence, such as DNA matching, blood spatter analysis, fingerprint identification, hair evidence, fiber evidence, and particle identification.

Digital Evidence

An increasingly important form of evidence, digital evidence is any relevant information that is stored or transmitted in binary form. Emails, phone calls, IMs, texts, banks records, login information, and GPS positioning were once only used to prosecute computer-related crimes, but are now regularly used as part of standard criminal cases 

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Cassidy Wagner
Dean Of Administrative Programs

A graduate of Coronado High School and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she she earned her Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies, Cassidy found her passion in college. Having worked as a paralegal in a law firm for…Read Full Bio

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