Demonstrative Evidence Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Demonstrative Evidence, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Demonstrative Evidence?

n. Devices, objects, or pictures that are used in cases to clarify facts for the judge and jury. Demonstrative evidence is not actual evidence, but are aids that are used to illustrate how an accident occurred, methods that were used in committing an alleged crime, medical damages, or actual damages. Evidence such as a bullet-riddled body, opposed to a model of a knee or a photograph of an accident, borders between a legitimate aid and inflammatory evidence.

History and Meaning of Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence has been used in legal cases for centuries. The term refers to any type of object or device that can be provided to a judge or jury to clarify factual information in a case. These aids are typically used to help explain how an incident occurred or to provide visual evidence of damages, such as in medical cases.

Demonstrative evidence is not considered "actual" evidence in a case, but rather a tool to assist in the presentation of evidence. It is up to the judge and jury to determine how much weight should be given to demonstrative evidence when deciding a verdict.

Examples of Demonstrative Evidence

  1. In a criminal trial, a prosecutor may use a model of a crime scene to show how a suspect committed a crime.
  2. In a personal injury case, a plaintiff may use photographs of their injuries to show how they were harmed.
  3. In a patent infringement case, a plaintiff may use a prototype to demonstrate how their invention works.

Legal Terms Similar to Demonstrative Evidence

  1. Real evidence - actual physical objects introduced as evidence in a case, such as a weapon used in a crime.
  2. Hearsay - an out-of-court statement offered in court to prove the truth of the matter asserted.
  3. Documentary evidence - any type of evidence presented in a documentary form, such as a contract or text message exchange.