Admissible Evidence: What You Need To Know

Admissible evidence
Admissible evidence is a legal term used in a court of law. It is evidence that is provided to a judge or jury.

In any criminal trial, officials, for example police officers, will collect evidence as they build their case.

Of course, this is the goal of the criminal justice system. However, police officers have to build a case. They will begin building a case against you if they see evidence to suggest they should. This is what they are trained to do.

What is Admissible Evidence?

Admissible evidence is also referred to as competent evidence, proper evidence, and legal evidence. This evidence that is typically provided to a judge or jury to establish or prove a point in the case.

All officers have to follow the rules for the way they build their cases. For the most part, they follow those rules because they want cases to be solved and closed. They have many more cases to get through on any given day.

Evidence against you may be in the form of a document, testimony or tangible evidence. For example, a physical bag of cocaine or a knife that can be used in court.

These things will be used by the prosecution to prove a point or make an element of the case clear for the judge or jury.

In a criminal case, the prosecution must, and is hoping to, use this evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s a much higher standard than a simple preponderance of evidence used for civil cases.

In order for evidence to be deemed admissible in court, it must be proven to be:

  • Relevant
    It must prove or disprove an important fact in the case. It may be damaging to the reputation of the accused, but if it isn’t related to facts of the case, it is inadmissible.

  • Reliable
    This relates in particular to witness testimony. It must come from a credible or believable and dependable source.

Basic Types of Evidence

The basic types of evidence are:

  1. Demonstrative – this might be something like a model of a crime scene or some type of measuring instrument – admitted to reconstruct a crime scene.
  2. Documentary – these would be things like crime scene photos.
  3. Real – this is an actual murder weapon. For example the infamous gloves that O.J. Simpson tried on.
  4. Testimonial – this is witness testimony.

Evidence Inadmissible

Whether evidence is admissible in court or not is driven by lawmakers. It is a field that is always changing. However, several basic factors may render evidence inadmissible in your trial:

  • Wastes Time
    A judge may not allow 20 character witnesses when one will do.

  • Misleading
    If the prosecution attempts to submit evidence that is damaging to the defendant but is not relevant to the facts of the case

  • Hearsay
    Testimony made outside of the courtroom which supposedly proves or disproves the truth is often inadmissible. Courts can’t rely on “I heard so and so say he did it.”

  • Unfairly Prejudicial
    Evidence that is sensational but provides no true information is often excluded. If it will make the jury angry or upset without doing anything else important, it’s not needed.

  • Privileged
    If evidence was part of a conversation between attorneys and clients or gathered in conflict of the law that says you do not have to incriminate yourself, it can be inadmissible

  • Character
    Evidence trying to prove someone “wouldn’t” do the crime because it is outside of his or her character is often excluded

  • Expert Testimony
    Lay witnesses can’t give expert testimony.

Take Away

If you are facing trial, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to review all evidence against you to make sure everything is presented fairly.

Reach out today. Let’s start fighting for your freedom.

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