circumstantial evidence | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Evidence Law

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that requires an inference to be made by the finder of fact.

This is opposed to direct evidence, which proves a fact directly without the need for any inferences.  For example, the suspect’s fingerprint on the murder weapon does not directly prove that the suspect killed the victim; that conclusion requires an inference (and usually additional evidence).  A video that shows the suspect inflicting a lethal wound on the victim would be direct evidence.


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Last Modified: 07/29/2021

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