Circumstantial Evidence Law and Legal Definition

Circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence which creates an inference from which a main fact may be inferred. For example, circumstantial evidenceof a murder is not based on first-hand eyewitness accounts, but may consist of threats made, fingerprints at the crime scene, or the presence of the accused in the vicinity of the crime.

Direct evidence, such as eyewitness testimony, is generally considered more powerful, but successful criminal prosecutions often rely largely on circmstantial evidence, and civil charges are frequently based on circumstantial or indirect evidence. When circumstantial evidence is cumulative, the weakness of such circumstntial evidence is strengthened.