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Circumstantial Evidence

Definition - What does Circumstantial Evidence mean?

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that is not taken from a direct observation of a situation, but is actually an inference based on what was seen around the time. Circumstantial evidence requires the use of reasoning and/or deduction in order to prove a fact. It occurs in both civil and criminal law, and most cases have facts that can be proved through circumstantial evidence. It is a common misconception that cases cannot be won and convictions cannot be made based on circumstantial evidence; this is untrue and this type of evidence can be used solely to determine guilt.

Justipedia explains Circumstantial Evidence

For instance, the observation of a person witnessing a bank robbery would constitute direct evidence. However, if a person instead witnessed a passing car with three men in masks who were holding bags of cash inside the car, and then the same person, upon turning the corner, saw that there had been some sort of incident at the bank, then this would be circumstantial evidence that a robbery occurred.

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