Prosecutors who bring criminal charges against an individual must provide evidence that links the individual to a criminal offense in order to obtain a conviction. Evidence presented by the prosecution or defense in a criminal prosecution in Florida can be classified in a number of different ways, two of which are class or individual characteristics. These two categories help judges and juries identify the evidence and decide whether it is relevant to a case.
Class vs. individual characteristics in evidence
Evidence in criminal cases is said to have two basic types of characteristics. Class characteristics are not unique to a specific object or piece of evidence. Rather, class characteristics place a particular object or piece of evidence into a broader classification of a group of objects. On the other hand, individual characteristics narrow down a particular piece of evidence to a single, specific source.
Example of class vs. individual evidence
If a person is shot by a handgun, the weapon that was used is considered a class characteristic. If fingerprints are identified on the handgun, those are deemed to be individual characteristics. The combination of these two types of evidence excludes other weapons and identifies the handgun at issue as the one used by the individual who fired the shot.
If you or a loved one faces the prospect of criminal charges, you may best protect your vital legal interests by proactively retaining legal representation. As a matter of practice, a Florida criminal defense attorney will typically schedule an initial consultation with a prospective client at no cost and no obligation. If hired, the attorney may help analyze the prosecutor’s evidence to look for weaknesses in the case.