Any court process is generally a precarious situation, no matter which side of a matter you may be on. At the end of the day, lifelong consequences are hinged upon the decision of a stranger. This can be stressful at the best of times, but for exceedingly serious matters such as criminal trials, a criminal defence lawyer may be your best bet at navigating the situation. This is especially true if you find yourself dealing with a lack of evidence.
Evidence is a fundamental aspect of any case – so what happens if you don’t have any? Are you automatically doomed to lose? Evidence is what provides a judge with the necessary knowledge to determine whether or not a litigant is in the wrong. Without evidence, it can be next to impossible to demonstrate a claim you are making or defend yourself from false accusations.
Before we get into whether or not you could win a case without evidence, let’s first go over the types of evidence typically accepted in court. Often, an individual may not realize that they do have evidence available to them because they are unaware of what counts. This is especially true when it comes to testimony.
If an individual testifies that they witnessed a crime being committed or a relevant event that they heard or saw happen, this counts as testimonial evidence. However, witness testimony does not count as evidence if the witness is speaking about events that they did not personally observe.
An opinion is also not considered witness testimony – witness testimony is about delivering the facts, although it may provide context for a court to make a decision. Witness testimony may be relied upon in a case when other forms of evidence are not present, but this is not recommended due to the nature of witness testimony as a form of evidence.
Physical evidence is just as it sounds – real, hard proof of what has or hasn’t happened. Real evidence could include samples of DNA or other materials which identify and place an individual. Real or physical evidence is perhaps the best type of evidence to rely upon as it can be the most difficult to dispute. However, real evidence can only be submitted if it meets certain criteria such as being relevant, material, and authentic. Knowingly providing false evidence is punishable by law. Disproving this type of evidence is difficult, but can be done with the help of a skilled criminal defence lawyer.
Documentary evidence is similar to physical evidence however it must be introduced through documentation. This could be a written or digital log of events such as a diary, a timesheet, a signed agreement, a sale document, or any other type of evidence in the form of documentation. The main caveat with this type of evidence is that it can be proven to be authentic and reliably sourced.
This type of evidence may sometimes be considered a secondary type of evidence and is often used to supplement witness testimony. Demonstrative evidence may include maps, calendars, charts, images or photographs which assist a witness in providing their testimony. For example, photographs of the defendant or the scene of the crime might be submitted as documentary evidence.
If all possible forms of evidence have been exhausted and you do not have any evidence to support your case, unfortunately, it is highly unlikely for a conviction to be made. A judge relies on evidence to apply the rules of the court, and in a case in which it is simply your word against theirs, it will be exceedingly difficult if not impossible for the court to come to a decision.
It is extremely unlikely that a case will be taken to trial if there is no evidence in support of it. A person cannot be convicted without substantial evidence, so the case will likely be dismissed due to an inability to obtain a conviction.
With all of the above in mind, it should be considered that your own testimony is counted as evidence. Being able to provide a solid and well-crafted testimony is not a guarantee of anything, but it coulmake your case. There are many instances in which the witness testimony of a victim of crime is the sole evidence in a case and enough to have a criminal convicted. If you feel your testimony may be enough to make a case, take the time and effort necessary to review it with an experienced lawyer.