5 Types of Evidence You Might Come Across as a Paralegal
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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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Lisa Myers, J.D., L.L.M.
Legal Studies Department Director
J.D. L.L.M. Campbell University
B.A. Corllins University