What is considered "evidence" at trial?

As a defense attorney in Boulder, it's not uncommon to end up in a jury trial. If the district attorney won't extend an offer that is acceptable to my client, then we put the case before a jury and let them decide whether my client is guilty or innocent of the charges. Whether it's a DUI, domestic violence, drug possession, motor vehicle theft, assault, or traffic offense, I have tried all of these cases in front of a jury. One of the first questions that clients ask me is "do they have any evidence against me?" Often people feel that the district attorney does not have any evidence. While that may be true in some cases, there is a lot of confusion surrounding what constitutes "evidence".

Thanks to the plethora of TV shows about police and the criminal justice system, there are a lot of misconceptions about how the court system actually works. Evidence does not have to be DNA evidence, or a video showing a person committing a crime (or not committing a crime). Physical evidence basically means anything besides live testimony of a witness. It can include: photographs, video, lab reports, objects such as a gun, knife, or clothing, documents, etc. Unfortunately, the district attorney can prosecute people without any physical evidence. In fact, many cases (if not most) only involve testimony by witnesses. Contrary to popular belief, testimony by a witness (even a biased one) is considered "evidence" under the rules of evidence. However, the jury decides how much weight to give evidence. Sometimes juries find a certain piece of evidence totally unreliable and unbelievable. So, just because the DA has evidence against someone, the jury can choose to disregard it. Obviously they are going to consider the credibility of the witness. So if a witness is a police officer with a sterling record, they are likely to give that person more credibility than the ex-spouse who is currently locked in a nasty custody battle or divorce with the defendant, or a multi-time convicted felon who is testifying against the defendant in order to get a better deal in his own case. Fortunately, bias and motive are always relevant, and defense attorneys can question witnesses about their motivation in testifying, as well as any bias against the defendant.

If you want to know what evidence the DA has against you, or how strong it is, call me today for a free consultation.


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