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What kinds of evidence can be presented at a criminal trial?

Maryland residents know that an individual charged with a crime cannot be convicted unless the prosecution has presented sufficient evidence that proves that this person committed the crime. But, some residents may not know that evidence presented in a trial may fall into several different categories. So, what are the different types of evidence that can be presented at a criminal trial?

Generally, there are four types of evidence that can be presented during a criminal trial. The first kind of evidence is known as real evidence. Real evidence can be physical evidence, such as a gun that the prosecution claims was used to commit a crime or injure someone. It can also be any item claimed to be used as a weapon in order to commit a crime. But, it's important to remember that while real evidence can be presented by the prosecution, it can also be presented by the criminal defense team in order to prove someone's innocence.

Another type of evidence is known as testimonial evidence or witness testimony. Testimonial evidence is sworn written or oral statements made by someone who actually witnessed the crime the defendant is being charged with or witnessed some aspect that is associated with that crime. Witness testimony can be used by the prosecution to try to prove that a defendant was seen committing a crime. It can also be used by the criminal defense team to prove that the defendant did not commit the crime.

A third type of evidence used in trials is documentary evidence. This is any kind of written document, letter or even internet blog that may prove that the defendant did or did not commit the crime.

The final kind of evidence is demonstrative evidence, which is a model or other kind of representation of what happened at a specific time and location. Any Maryland resident who is facing any type of felony charge may want to get more information in order to discover how these different types of evidence can be helpful to them.

Source:, "What are the rules of evidence?" Accessed July 17, 2016

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