A person who has been charged with a criminal case in Los Angeles will be brought before the Criminal Court so that a case can be conducted to determine whether they will be guilty or not. A Prosecuting attorney will set out to prove that the person being charged is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The criminal defense attorney will present a defense that goes to show that there is not enough evidence to determine guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by casting doubt on the evidence presented.
There are two types of evidence that a prosecutor and a defense attorney will use to prove their arguments; direct evidence, and circumstantial evidence. Direct evidence is evidence that is directly observed, it provides direct evidence of guilt. An example of direct evidence in a DUI case is a blood test that reads over .08. A blood test reading will provide evidence that the driver was intoxicated.
Direct evidence in other criminal cases will include direct police observation, and the testimony of that officer on the stand stating that what he or she observed. If there is a case for assault, direct observation would also include a nearby witness who saw the assault happen. For example, lets say Dan and Victor were having a heated discussion on the street outside of a bar. Will is the guy working at the door and checking I.D’s. The discussion between Dan and Victor escalates and Dan hits Victor. Will standing nearby witnesses the whole incident and is questioned later by authorities that are called. The testimony that Will provides will be direct evidence.
Circumstantial evidence is evidence that combined together points to the trust or supports an assertion. Circumstantial evidence will be different pieces of evidence that doesn’t provide the direct truth, but infers a truth. For example, officers obtain a search warrant to search the home of a person suspected of being in possession of drugs for sale. What the officer directly observes and testifies on, will be direct evidence.
However, the drug paraphernalia, such as scales, baggies of weighed drugs and grown marijuana or what not, will be considered circumstantial evidence. The paraphernalia compiled together points to the inference that the person whose home it was, was in possession of the drugs for sale.
Direct evidence will hold more weight in court, in comparison to circumstantial evidence because it is evidence that goes to the truth of the crime, and not the truth through inference. Direct evidence may be weakened by a witness’s credibility. If the person testifying is not a neutral party, their testimony may be taken lightly because there may be somewhat of a doubt of bias. In the example of Dan and Victor, Will was the neutral person offering direct evidence in the form of testimony. If Will was a friend of Dan’s his testimony would be weakened in comparison to Will being a worker at the bar.
Evidence will make your case stronger, and will help cast doubt on prosecutor’s case. A well prepared defense by a knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney will give you the best chance of having your case dismissed or in the very least, reduced.