Can You Be Convicted without Physical Evidence?

Being accused of a crime is one of the worst experiences in anyone’s life. While most people have theoretical knowledge of what happens during a trial, it suddenly becomes an unknown and terrifying territory when it is happening to you. One of the most frequent questions people ask a Spartanburg criminal defense lawyer is: can I be convicted without physical evidence?

Unfortunately, a lot of misleading and false information relating to what can and cannot secure a conviction comes from crime TV series, books and movies. Here are the true facts you need to know about this issue.

What Exactly Is Physical Evidence?

Physical evidence connects a person directly to a crime scene or to the victim of a crime beyond any reasonable doubt. It consists of:

  • Strands of hair
  • Fingerprints
  • DNA samples
  • Fibers from clothing
  • Footprints
  • Trace evidence

Trace evidence represents minute particles, which transfer from one person to an object or to another person while a crime is being committed.

Proving a Case beyond Physical Evidence

Although physical evidence is the strongest and most reliable way of proving a defendant’s guilt, it is not always possible to obtain it. This is why prosecutors often resort to circumstantial evidence to prove their case.

Circumstantial evidence represents a series of facts and findings which, together, indicate beyond a reasonable doubt that a person committed a crime.

However, in order to be admissible and used to obtain a conviction, the circumstantial evidence produced by the prosecutor must meet the Supreme Court of South Carolina rules:

  • It must point conclusively to the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt
  • The separate pieces of evidence must be consistent with each other
  • If the evidence only shows that the defendant was acting suspiciously, they cannot be found guilty

a judge cannot pronounce you guilty if there is a reasonable doubt

How to Challenge Circumstantial Evidence that Can Be Used in Court

When your Spartanburg criminal defense lawyer examines the evidence against you, they will look for any opportunities to get it dismissed. In general, prosecutors rely on:

1. Eyewitness Testimonies

In the past, an eyewitness’ testimony was enough to secure a conviction. Now, thankfully, times have changed. Various experts have proven how unreliable these testimonies can be, even if the witness is completely honest and willing to cooperate.

This is why witnesses are cross-examined in court. When a question is asked in a different way, they may recant and realize that they did not really see exactly what happened or cannot be certain that they identify you correctly.

2. Digital Evidence

With so many smartphones and CCTV cameras around us, it is almost impossible to do anything, both in public and private spaces, without being recorded. Prosecutors often introduce video or audio recordings as evidence.

There are several aspects related to their admissibility, which your attorney will certainly look into:

  • If the recording was obtained in a lawful manner
  • If the digital file is in its original state or it was tampered with
  • If the quality of the image and sound is sufficient to allow a clear identification of the persons and the acts allegedly perpetrated

3. Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses are professionals in various specialties, such as medicine, engineering, physics, accountancy and so on. They do not know anything about you or the case. However, they can give a professional opinion indicating if something is likely to have happened as the prosecutor or the defense counsel states.

Expert witnesses are not infallible. Also, your attorney will look for and hire reliable professionals whose opinion may credibly contradict the prosecutor’s narrative.

Consult with an Experienced Spartanburg Criminal Defense Lawyer!

In South Carolina, you can get convicted without physical evidence, so you should not rely on its absence to believe that you will be found not guilty. The only effective way of protecting your freedom is by hiring an experienced Spartanburg criminal defense lawyer to represent you.

A seasoned attorney knows how to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and present other pieces of evidence supporting your innocence.

Start your legal battle with a strong ally on your side – call us to schedule a free case review: 864-777-4615!

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