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posted in Wilka, Welter & Ash LLP Law Blog.
What is Hearsay?
Hearsay used in a courtroom is easily able to confuse one attempting to prove a case. While the definition may seem simple, the reality is a complicated matter. What is and is not allowed can be defined by a personal injury attorney in Sioux Falls. Hearsay is anything used as evidence in a courtroom based on something said by a third party outside of court. While this is generally not allowed, there are a number of exceptions to the rule which are allowed to be used.
Using Hearsay as Proof
The issue is not in the definition of the word, but in the exceptions which are allowed in a court of law. For one without legal representation, he or she may feel the evidence falls under one of these exceptions when in fact it does not. For these people, it is best to avoid it, especially if other evidence is available that fully proves the case. For those called to the witness stand, a statement made under oath may contain hearsay that is not allowed in court. If the party is planning on using the statement, it is best to go over it with a lawyer to determine if it will be allowed.
When Hearsay is Against the Person
If the person in court is facing hearsay as evidence against them, they may not know what to object to and what not to. If a lawyer is used, experienced counsel will have the ability to make sure any illegal uses are not considered as evidence. While hearsay could easily slip through with the complications of so many exceptions, the judgment of the lawyer can help prevent this from happening. This is only one of many reasons why experienced counsel is a bonus in court.
Types of Cases
Hearsay does not affect just one type of case. It can be part of criminal or civil cases and the laws remain the same. The type of case, however, may influence what exceptions are used. For example, state of mind exceptions may be proved to declare a person as an incompetent party or witness. This may be used in civil cases and divorce cases to show that the opposing party is unable to make positive decisions. This type can be used in a criminal case, to prove the intent of one to injure another.
The best way to prevent and use hearsay appropriately is knowing the law. Studying the possibilities and using them correctly will make court an easier process. As previously stated, legal counsel is a citizen’s best defense against this complex process. The experience will also create ease throughout the entire court proceedings. This makes the results much more favorable for the party involved, regardless of the type of case at hand.