Hearsay is any information gathered by one person from another person who has first-hand knowledge of the information. This information may involve a condition, event, or object of which the person gathering the information has no first-hand knowledge. In other words, the person did not have any direct or personal experience and cannot testify in court about it. Information that is second-hand is typically not admissible in court unless it falls under specific exceptions.
- Can Hearsay Evidence Be Admitted through Another Person’s Testimony?
- Is an Inconsistent Statement a Hearsay Exception?
- Is an Admission of Guilt or Liability an Exception?
- What If the Statement Was Spoken by Someone Who Is Not Available to Testify?
- Should I Contact an Attorney about the Exceptions to the Hearsay Rule?
Yes. Even if the person with the first-hand knowledge is available to testify, the second-hand evidence can be admitted under the following circumstances:
- Statements Made to Get Medical Treatment: The assumption that makes this statement admissible is that people will tell the truth about their symptoms to obtain proper medical treatment.
- Statements Said under Stress: This type of statement is referred to as an “excited utterance.” The statement made under stress is viewed as admissible if it was offered by a person who heard the words spoken.
- Present Sense Hearsay: This is a statement made about what a person experienced in a particular moment.
- Public Records: A record made in the course of business is admissible. For example, a police report is not admissible in a criminal trial, but is allowed in a civil trial to prove a defendant’s liability.
Yes, prior statements that are considered inconsistent may be allowed at trial in some states. It depends on the rules of procedure for that state.
Yes. Any time a defendant admits guilt, it can be included at trial even if it is hearsay. This is because it may be assumed that a person would not admit to being guilty.
Whether a statement made by someone unable to testify is admissible depends on the statement. Hearsay may be included if the person is not available to testify if:
- The statement was a dying declaration
- The statement was a declaration against the speaker’s own interest
- The person was intimidated by the defendant into not testifying
- The statement was prior testimony
Sometimes, you may need to rely on hearsay evidence to prove your innocence in a criminal case. Thus, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal attorney about what hearsay evidence is admissible. The attorney will inform you of what hearsay evidence may be admissible in your case and assist you in putting together a defense strategy to defend yourself against criminal charges.