RunSensible’s Legal Dictionary

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Legal Dictionary

Rules of Evidence

The rules of evidence, whether at the federal level or in various state jurisdictions, govern the admission and use of evidence in legal proceedings. These rules are crucial to ensure the fair and just presentation of facts in court.
Evidence must be relevant to the case at hand. Relevant evidence tends to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
Hearsay is generally not admissible. Hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted. There are exceptions to this rule, allowing certain types of hearsay under specific circumstances.
Before evidence can be admitted, its authenticity must be established. This rule addresses correctly identifying and authenticating documents, objects, or other types of evidence.
The best evidence rule requires the original of a document or writing to be presented if the document’s content is at issue. Copies or descriptions are usually not admissible unless certain exceptions apply.
Certain communications are protected by privileges, such as attorney-client privilege or doctor-patient privilege. These rules prohibit the disclosure of certain information in court.
Generally, evidence of a person’s character is not admissible to prove that they acted in a particular way on a specific occasion. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
Witnesses can be impeached, or attacked on their credibility, by introducing evidence that contradicts their testimony or by showing that they have a history of untruthfulness.
These rules, among others, aim to ensure that only reliable and relevant evidence is presented in court, promoting the fair and just resolution of legal disputes.

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