Is circumstantial evidence enough to convict someone at trial

Asked about 2 years ago - Seattle, WA

If someone is accused of stealing money and all they have is circumstantial evidence.
no eye witnesses, no video footage or hard evidence, is it enough for the court/jury to find the person guilty at trial?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Kent W Underwood

    Contributor Level 10

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. Circumstantial evidence can be enough to convict someone. The question to the jury will be did the State prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt? It will come down to what is the actual evidence and can there be interpretations of the evidence other than that the accused committed a crime. The defense attorney will likely question the State's witnesses about other possible interpretations of the evidence. What those questions will be will depend on the exact nature of the evidence.

  2. Scott Weymouth Lawrence

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. A person can be convicted on circumstantial evidence alone. AS you a pointed out in your question, it is a lot harder to get over the hurt a lot of beyond a reasonable doubt without direct evidence.

  3. Christopher A Swaby

    Contributor Level 13

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. One can easily imagine a set of circumstances in which there is no direct evidence of a theft but evidence of access to the money, opportunity to take it and signs of new found wealth that point to a particular person. It may be that the state cannot convince a jury of the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but I would guess most attorneys on this site can tell at least one story in which a defendant was convicted solely on circumstantial evidence.

    If you havent already, please speak to an attorney, or have the accused do so, as soon as possible.

  4. Mark Copoulos

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Yes. The standard is guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It can be met by using circumstantial or direct evidence...

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