What does Direct Evidence mean?
Direct evidence is evidence from witnesses who actually witnessed the criminal conduct or evidence directly linked to the crime such as DNA, photos of the crime in progress, eye witness testimony and fingerprints.
Direct evidence is the most helpful evidence for the criminal prosecutor because it does not require the jury or judge to make inferences or assumptions about how a criminal event occurred. Direct evidence varies from circumstantial evidence which requires the jury to develop an opinion about the facts of a case.
There is some debate within the legal community about whether or not any evidence can actually be called "direct evidence." While direct evidence is best for a criminal case, assuming it truly exists, it is not necessarily critical to win a case. Juries have found alleged defendants guilty through circumstantial evidence only.