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Are Demonstative Aids For Criminal Trials Worth The Cost?

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It might surprise you to find out that 65% of people are visual learners, but it probably doesn't surprise your attorney. That's why many trial attorneys make good use of demonstrative aids and exhibits when making their case. Learn how important different types of aids can be to your criminal case if it ends up going to trial.

What demonstrative aids and exhibits are used and why?

Demonstrative evidence is pretty much any sort of physical aid that is used during a civil or criminal trial that helps the jury better understand testimony or the facts of the case. Some demonstrative evidence is evidentiary in nature (the bloody fingerprints found at the scene of an alleged murder) and some of it is illustrative (the charts that demonstrate how the fight between the victim and the defendant played out, based on the blood trails and broken objects).

You can expect your attorney and the opposing counsel to argue over what should and shouldn't be admitted into the trial as demonstrative evidence, particularly when it is the illustrative kind. For example, if you're charged in a murder case, the prosecution may want to put large, graphic photos of the victim's injuries up where the jury can see it. Your attorney will likely seek to limit the jury's exposure to such graphic images and argue about what size they need to be and how long the jury should be subjected to them. Each side wants to use illustrative aids to make a stronger case with the jury.

Is the cost of demonstrative evidence worth it?

Some visual aids are expensive to produce—for example, it isn't uncommon to pay between $5,000-$15,000 for a 5-minute Powerpoint animation that helps illustrate what you and your attorney say happened. For example, if you're charged with murder, your attorney may want to put together animated evidence that shows how the fight between you and the deceased played out. That could give visual life to your expert's testimony that you were acting in self-defense. Is the cost really worth it?

Given that human beings process visuals 60,000 times faster than they do text, photos and animation can really help jurors make sense of evidence—far better than any written reports. Powerpoint slides and color graphs also help. Studies have shown that adding color can increase recall of technical information by up to 82%. Jurors are simply more likely to follow along and retain what your expert is saying if there are illustrative aids to help.

While demonstrative evidence can be expensive to include as part of your defense, if your trial attorney suggests it, give the idea serious consideration. It could ultimately be the key to winning your case. For more information, contact a firm such as Swartz & Swartz P.C.