There are several types of evidence that may be used in a court setting. Evidence can be direct or circumstantial. Direct evidence is the items in a court case that can be seen or certain types of eyewitness testimony. Circumstantial evidence is usually a series of events or characterization that implies guilt. All the facts that are collected for a court case are tied together to help a judge or jury make a decision to convict or not to convict someone on trial.
Direct evidence can be physical objects or testimony under oath that leads directly to the crime and person who committed it. This type of proof should point to the guilty person and should leave no doubt. It should prove the exact circumstances of the crime.
Physical evidence is one type of direct evidence. This includes the items found by investigators at a crime scene. The physical signs tell the story of how the crime was believed to have happened. Some of the physical signs can be gathered right away. This can include broken glass, weapons, drugs, and other items left behind at the scene.
Other physical evidence taken from a crime needs to be gathered and then examined at a lab. This could include, blood, semen, and hair samples. Even though the item is physical, it has to be sent to a lab to obtain the results of who or where it came from. Once the lab can give investigators a full report on these items, they can often be used to prove guilt in court. DNA is a type of physical evidence that is used in many cases, and it is considered highly reliable, especially for excluding suspects.
Circumstantial evidence is all the actions that can imply guilt of a suspect. A person who is on trial for a criminal case may be asked to reveal what he or she did in the weeks before the crime or the weeks after the crime. The events that occurred during this time could foreshadow that person committing the crime. An example is a person who practiced with a gun the few weeks before their spouse was murdered. There is no direct link, but it could be suggested that the person used the gun to get ready to commit murder.
Another form of circumstantial evidence is witness testimony. People who know the person on trial may talk under oath about his or her character or how he or she would react in specific situations. This type of testimony is to showcase that the person under suspicion has the mental ability to commit the crime. It usually takes a combination of circumstantial and direct evidence to convict someone of a crime.