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Footprints as Evidence

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What Is a Footprint?

A footprint is the impression that a person leaves in the earth after they walk on it.  Both shoes and bare feet can leave footprints in soft or semi-soft earth.  Footprints can last for a couple of minutes to hundreds of years.

Can a Footprint Be Used as Evidence?

Yes. Footprints are typically used by the prosecution to help prove an individual committed a crime, or was at least present at the scene of a crime, and thus could have committed it. Footprints are not as unique as a fingerprint or DNA evidence, but under the right circumstances, they can be enough to help the prosecution secure a criminal conviction. 

When the prosecution looks at a footprint as evidence of criminal activity, they are usually focused on the following:

  • The walk or gait of the person who left the footprints
  • Sole or heel indents
  • Cuts or the tread of a shoe
  • Other signs of wear associated with a shoe

When Can a Footprint Be Used as Evidence?

Along with looking at the above signs associated with a footprint, the prosecution may have a hard time proving a person is guilty of crime based on their footprints alone. That is because in order to use a footprint as evidence against someone for a crime, three things are usually needed:

  1. A photograph, plater mold, or print of the original and untainted footprint
  2. The actual shoe or mold of a foot that belongs to the defendant
  3. An expert witness that can testify to the connection between the two beyond a reasonable doubt.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If a footprint is the primary evidence against you in a criminal case, it is highly recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney because footprint evidence can usually be rebutted.  Only an attorney will be able to explain the relevant issues and help in your defense.

Photo of page author Matthew Izzi

, LegalMatch Legal Writer and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-27-2015 03:41 PM PDT

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