Hearsay is a term we have often heard in legal situations, but most don’t know what it means. In simple terms, hearsay can be defined as a written or oral statement made outside of court to prove the truth of the matter in question.
Confusing? Let us break it down for you in simple terms.
What is Hearsay Evidence?
Hearsay evidence is a testimony made in court by a witness who was not present at the incident in question but heard about it from someone else. In general, hearsay evidence is not admissible in court unless in the case of some exceptions.
The Federal Rules of Evidence explicitly states that hearsay evidence can be admissible in court depending on certain factors. Under Federal Rule of Evidence Rule 803 – there are 23 exceptions to the rule against hearsay, allowing the hearsay/second-hand evidence to be admissible in court.
Exceptions To the Hearsay Rule
What the court cares about in criminal cases is whether there is reliable evidence admitted in the courts. Hence, like there are exceptions to most rules, there are also exceptions to the hearsay rule.
Let’s look at some of the most common scenarios where you can use hearsay evidence in court.
- One exception is in cases of dying declarations. Statements made by a dying person are admissible in court because of the prevalent belief that people will not lie on their deathbed.
- A statement made immediately after or simultaneous to an event, which the declarant has perceived, is also admissible in court.
- Another exception is when statements are made for a medical diagnosis or treatment to a medical provider.
- Another common scenario when the hearsay evidence is admissible in court is if the statement has been made under the stress of excitement by the declarant.
These are some of the most common scenarios when hearsay evidence is admissible by the courts. In any case, it is important to know your rights and fight your case with all your might.
Get Off to the Right Start
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, you need to get off the right start and take the time to build your defense before you fight your case. The most important part is to make sure you get out on bail and save that precious time when you’re not convicted of the crime to stay out of jail.