Physical Evidence Law & Legal Definition


Physical evidence usually involves objects found at the scene of a crime. Physical evidence may consist of all sorts of prints such as fingerprints, footprints, handprints, tidemarks, cut marks, tool marks, etc. Examination of some physical evidence is conducted by making impressions in plaster, taking images of marks, or lifting the fingerprints from objects encountered. These serve later as a comparison to identify, for example, a vehicle that was parked at the scene, a person who was present, a type of manufacturing method used to create a tool, or a method or technique used to break into a building or harm a victim. An examination of documents found at the scene or related to the crime is often an integral part of forensic analysis. Such examination often helps to establish not only the author, but more importantly identify any alterations that took place. Specialists are also able to recover text from documents damaged by accident or on purpose. American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) describes physical evidence as anything from small evidences that require a microscope to view to anything as large as a truck.