Legally Obtained Evidence 

 January 5, 2015

By  LMW Attorneys

Evidence is a crucial element to any trial. Including both verbal and physical elements, the purpose of evidence is to prove a crime was committed. Ultimately, it is the evidence that can make or break a trial and become the deciding factor between freedom and imprisonment. While evidence is an essential part of any trial, in order for the evidence to be permitted in a court of law, it must be legally obtained.

What is Considered Evidence?

Evidence comes in many different forms and can be used against an individual in a court of law assuming it has been obtained legally. Evidence generally falls into one of two categories: verbal or physical. Verbal evidence is just that—verbal; physical evidence, on the other hand, is any tangible evidence. Some common forms of these types of evidence are:

Verbal Evidence

– Confessions that have been made by the defendant
– Testimonies made by any witnesses
– Documents such as warrants or any other files
– Spoken evidence

Physical Evidence

– DNA, blood, or any other bodily substance
– Footprints or foot tracks
– Photographs or video footage
– Illegal contraband including drugs, paraphernalia or drug money
– Weapons

Legally Obtained Evidence

Evidence can be legally obtained in numerous ways depending on the specifics of the case. Searches and warrants, among other actions, are all common ways to gather evidence. Depending on how the evidence is gathered is what deems it legally obtained or illegally-obtained. For example, searches and warrants are generally only allowed if probable cause has been found.

When Can Evidence Be Excluded in a Trial?

Most evidence is permissible in the court of law; however, there are certain rules that can exclude evidence from being used during a trial—such as these circumstances:

Hearsay: Hearsay is a complex area of the law of evidence. Whether or not hearsay is admissible in a trial depends on circumstances, generally hearsay is not permitted.

Plea Bargains: These are statements that cannot be used against the defendant during the trial.

Self-Incrimination: Defendants hold the right to refuse to take the stand during the trial if the cross-examination by the prosecutor could lead to the defendant incriminating him or herself.

Unfairness: Anytime evidence has been obtained in a manner that can be deemed unfair, the evidence may not be used.

Character Evidence: This law states that prosecutors cannot use the defendant’s personality traits in order to prove they committed the crime.

When to Hire an Attorney

Evidence can make or break a case and be the deciding factor between freedom and a life imprisoned. Because evidence is an essential part of any trial, do not risk taking your freedom into your own hands. The legal team at LMW Attorneys is experienced in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury and can aggressively defend your rights. Schedule your free consultation today to speak with a lawyer about your case.