It would be hard to imagine a criminal court proceeding that did not involve at least some form of real evidence. In legal terms, this type of evidence refers to objects that have a direct relationship with the events under consideration. Real evidence is not to be confused with demonstrative or documentary evidence even though those types of evidence do involve the use of visual and audio objects.
What Sets Real Evidence Apart?
Real evidence is a tangible object that is believed to have a connection with the course of events that led to the criminal charges. The purpose of introducing the object is to confirm information that is already presented to the court or is in the process of being presented. In short, this kind of evidence can support testimonies and provide another level of information that is needed to determine what really took place.
For example, the criminal case revolves around the use of a knife to stab the victim. Real evidence in this instance could be a knife with the type of blade necessary to make the wound sustained by the victim. During the introduction of the knife as evidence, it may also be established that it belonged to the victim and that there is evidence of several people holding the object prior to the stabbing. Depending on the type of testimony provided at the time of the presentation, the object may be accepted into evidence as the weapon used by the assailant.
Another example of real evidence could be clothing worn by the victim or abandoned by the assailant and recovered by the authorities. Introducing the clothing as evidence paves the way for seeking expert testimony about the blood stains on the clothing and whether the stains are a match for the victim or the defendant.
Other Examples of Real Evidence
Real evidence is sometimes referred to as physical evidence. That means any physical object that has a relation to the events under consideration qualifies as real evidence. Along with things like clothing and weapons, there are other forms of real evidence that may be relevant to the case and help to establish who was present when the crime was committed.
Jewelry belonging to the victim is a good example. If the jewelry the victim is seen wearing shortly before the crime occurs is found in the possession of the accused party, the court could consider that to be real evidence.
Accessories like hats or gloves may also fall into this category. The objects may have been found at the crime site or found in the possession of someone other than the owner. Even decorative objects like lamps or fireplace pokers found at the scene may serve as physical evidence if they have some connection to the wounds sustained by the victim.
How Important is Real Evidence?
Even with a number of eye witnesses and strong testimonies, real evidence brings a level of clarity to any criminal court action. It’s not just a matter of providing some type of visual artifact that has some bearing on the case. This type of evidence can help clear up apparent differences between the testimony of two witnesses.
Consider what could happen when two people viewed an event from different vantage points. While they observed the same course of events, their perceptions may vary based on the line of vision and anything that could be interfering with the view. Both individuals are recounting events to the best of their ability but the testimonies don’t agree on all points.
In this scenario, the introduction of real evidence could affirm parts of those testimonies while also explaining why one party observed something the other did not. Perhaps one party thought there was a single gun involved while the other is convinced there were two. Shell casings at the scene may confirm there were two while other evidence demonstrates why the one witness would only have seen a single weapon.
The bottom line is that real evidence is crucial to the outcome of a criminal trial. The evidence has the potential to clear an innocent person charged of a crime as well as point in the direction of the individual who is responsible. When combined with other kinds of evidence, the potential to ensure the truth comes out and justice is rendered increases significantly.