When you are faced with criminal charges, you will likely be required to present your case in a court of law. Trials serve as a venue in which evidence can be presented to a judge and jury so that these individuals can determine a person's guilt.
There are many types of evidence that can be presented in court, but there are many types of evidence that should be excluded from inclusion in a trial as well. One of these excluded forms of evidence is known as hearsay evidence.
Here are two things you need to know about hearsay evidence to ensure this type of information doesn't play a role in your criminal trial in the future.
1. Hearsay evidence occurs outside of court.
One of the most important distinctions that you must make when determining if a piece of evidence can be considered hearsay is the situation in which the statement was given. In order to be classified as hearsay, the statement must occur outside of the courtroom.
Any verbal evidence that is given within the courtroom can be considered truthful when a witness is under oath. When a statement is given outside the courtroom, there is no way to prove the truthfulness of the statement since the witness wasn't under oath at the time.
Be sure that you and your attorney work to identify if a piece of evidence occurred outside the courtroom when trying to battle hearsay statements from playing a role in your trial.
2. Hearsay evidence typically involves a third party.
Another of the primary characteristics of hearsay evidence is the fact that this type of evidence usually involves a third party.
If a witness taking the stand in your trial tries to present evidence that includes a statement made to him or her by another individual, this is hearsay. The court cannot examine the individual who made the original statement to determine the validity of the statement of the person's mindset when the statement was made. This means that the evidence is unreliable and should not be used against you during your trial.
Carefully consider whether or not a third party is involved in the statements being provided by witnesses in your case, then work to have these third-party statements excluded as hearsay evidence.
Being able to accurately recognize and respond to hearsay evidence will help you better defend yourself against criminal charges in the future. Talk to an attorney at firms like Larson, Latham, Huettl Attorneys to learn more.