Introduction to Evidence Law
Because evidence is a crucial part of a criminal trial, there are a number of laws that govern the use of evidence. A good criminal defense will have years of experience working with the law of evidence because under the right circumstances there may be an opportunity to contest evidence that is put forward before the trial, or evidence which seems strong can have its weaknesses shown in front of the jury. The limitations on evidence tell the courts what the prosecution and criminal defense can and can’t do when the attempt to control the evidence. Law of evidence performs many important functions during a criminal trial, including:
- Making the most fair and balanced trial possible
- Putting limitations on the scope and duration of the trial
- To encourage juries to critique the evidence instead of trust it
Federal courts have different evidence laws than state courts. This is another good reason to make sure you have a criminal attorney experienced in the court where your trial will be held. The state courts have separate rules for every state which are created and enforced by state laws.
The rules of evidence which federal courts follow are called the Federal Rules of Evidence. These rules have greatly influenced the way evidence is considered in all courts within the United States. One of the main reasons for its influence is the ease by which it can be read and accessed. It has a very simple outline with brief descriptions that give a clear indication of how the Federal Rules of Evidence work.
What is admissible as evidence
In general any evidence which aims to prove or disprove facts which are important to the case is considered admissible evidence. A number of conditions apply which can make that evidence inadmissible, such as evidence obtained as the result of a violation of basic rights or evidence which is not reliable. This doesn’t mean though that evidence has to prove a fact only that it has to give a reliable indication of something that is important to the case. During the trial, it is ultimately the jury who will determine how much that piece of evidence affects the verdict.
When evidence is being considered prior to a trial, often the prosecution, the criminal defense and the judge will discuss the evidence and decide whether or not certain things should be introduced into the trial. If the criminal lawyer believes that certain parts of the evidence should be suppressed, then they will put forward a motion to keep those things from being seen or heard the jury. The prosecution will likely make a counter argument to any motion and the judge will end up deciding whether the evidence should be admitted based on a number of factors which help to ensure a fair trial.