As a general rule, if a conviction in Florida is based entirely upon circumstantial evidence, the sufficiency of the evidence is measured by a special standard of review.
“Where the only proof of guilt is circumstantial, no matter how strongly the evidence may suggest guilt, a conviction cannot be sustained unless the evidence is inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence.” State v. Law, 559 So.2d 187, 188 (Fla. 1989).
Although the special circumstantial evidence rule in prosecutions does not usually effect the probable cause to arrest threshold, if the law enforcement officer does not properly investigate the crime, then the evidence gathered during the preliminary investigation might not exclude every reasonable hypotheses of innocence.
Attorney for Circumstantial Evidence in Florida
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm understand the rules for cases involving purely circumstantial evidence. While a conviction must be based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the circumstantial evidence test protects against a conviction based on impermissibly stacked inferences.
Direct evidence of guilt does not require any additional steps if the trier of fact believes the evidence. But circumstantial evidence of guilt requires that the trier of fact make inferences regarding the evidence presented.
Criminal prosecutions based solely on circumstantial evidence must exclude every reasonable hypothesis of innocence.
With offices in downtown Tampa in Hillsborough County and in New Port Richey in Pasco County, we fight criminal charges throughout the greater Tampa Bay area.
Call 813-250-0500 to discuss your case and legal defenses that might apply.
This article was last updated on Friday, May 8, 2020.