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When does evidence become inadmissible in court? 

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

Evidence is the key factor in all criminal cases. To be convicted of a crime, the accused must be proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. 

This means that compelling evidence must be provided by the prosecution. If the defense can establish reasonable doubt, then the conviction should not stand. One common defense strategy is to test the admissibility of evidence. When might evidence become inadmissible?

Improperly obtained evidence

Police officers have a host of powers at their disposal when investigating crimes. For example, they can search properties and individuals. They can also bring people in for questioning and gather witness testimonies. 

Nonetheless, officers cannot act with impunity. The Fifth Amendment protects individuals from being forced to make self-incriminating statements. So, if the evidence was gathered without alerting the relevant parties of their rights, such as the right to remain silent or have access to legal counsel, then the resulting statements may be inadmissible. 

In terms of searches, if property was seized without probable cause or valid search warrants, then any evidence found in those searches may be inadmissible. 

Lack of probative value 

Evidence also cannot be prejudicial. It must have probative value. Essentially, probative value means the evidence is of high relevance to the case at hand. So, if a witness gives testimony about something that the accused was supposed to have done 20 years ago, and it shares no characteristics with the case, this may lack probative value. 

Hearsay evidence may also lack probative value. Hearsay occurs when someone provides second-hand information. For instance, if the person didn’t see anything, but they heard from someone else that a crime occurred.  

The best way to ensure fair treatment in your case is to seek legal guidance. This will help you to go over all of your potential defense options.