proof vs evidence

What’s the difference between evidence and proof?

August 31, 2021 12:50 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

In everyday speech, the terms “evidence” and “proof” are frequently used interchangeably in casual speech. There is, however, a distinction to be made between evidence and proof. Evidence is data or facts that assist us in determining the reality or existence of something. A total collection of evidence can prove a claim. Proof is a conclusion that a certain fact is true or not. In the case of a court of law, it is up to a judge or a jury to decide whether a fact has been proven or not, based on the evidence presented.  What's the difference between evidence and proof in New Hampshire Law?


Evidence is unprocessed pieces of data, material, or information. In the legal context, it is typically gathered and presented  by one party to a case in an attempt to either prove or disprove a certain legal conclusion.

“Proved.” — A statement is said to be established when the Court, after examining the evidence, either thinks it exists or feels its existence is so likely that a reasonable person would act on the premise that it exists given the circumstances of the case.

“Disproved.” — A claim is said to be disproved when, after examining the evidence, the Court either believes it does not exist or feels its non-existence is so likely that a reasonable person would act on the assumption that it does not exist given the circumstances of the case.

“It has not been proven.” When a fact is neither confirmed nor denied, it is said to be unproven.

For example, when trying to solve a murder or theft case, the police are continuously seeking evidence to present to the jury. The facts gathered by the police and prosecutor and presented convincingly by the attorney in a law court constitute the foundation for the jury’s decision. Prosecutors frequently utilize fingerprints, films, voice samples, clothing, and other materials and things used by the accused as evidence to support their allegations and statements. Evidence itself is not absolute proof, but helps lead and direct the jury to a decision.

In most cases, a jury must make do with the evidence and facts provided to them. Often no one piece of evidence is itself sufficient to prove that a crime did or did not occur. 

Evidence can take various forms, including digital, physical, scientific, detailed, and so forth. Prosecutors utilize this evidence to show their client’s guilt or innocence in a court of law.


People will demand proof if you claim anything new or innovative. To take an age-old philosophical example, atheists ask – what is the evidence for believing in God’s existence? We believe in objects and concepts that we can detect with our senses or supported by a body of knowledge derived from thousands of years of experience and research. A definitive assertion concerning the truth or reality is known as proof. Prosecutors a must utilize evidence to establish that an accused has committed a crime before a jury. 

A simple example is if a person’s fingerprints are on a glass. The fingerprints are evidence. The conclusion that that the person touched the glass, is proof. 

The evidence provided by either of the parties present during the trial must be firmly and considerably more probable than not to be accurate. The trier of fact must have a solid belief or conviction in its factuality. In civil cases the standard for whether evidence has led to proof of a fact is whether that fact is more likely than not. In criminal cases, on the other hand, for evidence to amount to proof of guilt, it must amount to beyond a reasonable doubt. Difference between proof and evidence:

  • A fact that indicates that something is genuine is known as proof. The proof is a definitive judgment that eliminates all  legal question, whereas evidence simply points to a fact or assertion.
  • Evidence is data that leads to the conclusion that something is genuine or authentic. For example, police officers offer evidence to show an accused person’s guilt (DNA), physical (clothing or sperm), or circumstantial evidence.
  • Before establishing a claim, each inventor must substantiate their innovation.
  • You can use various items to establish your identity, including your driver’s license, voter’s card, and utility bills.
  • The proof is complete and irrefutable. The evidence is speculative.
  • A fingerprint can prove someone’s guilt on a pistol. If the murder suspect also has a motivation and an opportunity to do the crime, that adds to the evidence. The investigators will have proof of his guilt if they can gather enough evidence.

Do you have questions about criminal law? Get in touch with our New Hampshire criminal defense attorney team to learn more about your options and how we can help.


This post was written by Cohen and Winters

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