Can the police arrest and convict someone of burglary with only circumstantial evidence?

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Can the police arrest and convict someone of burglary with only circumstantial evidence?

The suspect has had no police contact since the incident occurred but his name was used in a search warrant on another persons house. The police have been questioning all acquaintances but have no confession or witnesses or evidence from the scene. They have pin pointed their suspect based on phone records and purely circumstantial evidence. It has been 3 months since the alleged incident and no contact has been made to the suspect in question. The suspect also has no criminal record is well respected and had no motive to commit a crime. What do the police need to arrest and make a conviction?

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

Russ Pietryga / Pietryga Law Office

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, the polce do not decide whether to charge a person with a crime.  The prosecuting attorney does.  Usually, the prosecuting attorney will recieve all the evidence from the police and screne it for charges.  If, during the screening, the prosecuting attorney decides there is enough evidence to convict someone of the charge, they can file it with the court.

Circumstancial evidence is inderect evidence; secondary facts by which a principal fact may be rationally inferred.

So, yes, you can be charged solely on circumstancial evidence.  But it should be hard to get a conviction.  Lots of people are charged with crimes that are never convicted.

Hope this helps.


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