During a criminal proceeding, evidence may be presented by both sides to support their case. But, what is considered admissible evidence?
This is a common question that we get from our clients. Learn more, below.
What is Considered Admissible Evidence in Virginia?
Admissible evidence is any relevant evidence that would make a material fact more or less probable than it would have been otherwise without the evidence in question.
To keep it simple, relevant evidence is admissible evidence, irrelevant evidence is not admissible evidence.
After that determination of relevance, there are additional questions about the evidence that must be answered regarding its admissibility. Some of these questions include: Can the evidence be authenticated (i.e. is this evidence actually what the prosecution or the defense says it is)? Is the evidence privileged, such as being part of an attorney/client communication? Is the evidence hearsay (a statement that was made out of court that is being used in court to attempt to prove the statement was true)?
These rules that establish the admissibility of evidence are found in the Virginia Rules of Evidence, and in years of court decisions interpreting those rules.
What are Examples of Evidence in Virginia?
Some examples of evidence in a legal proceeding include:
- Witness testimony
- Digital evidence (data, etc.)
- Scientific findings (blood tests, etc.)
- Written statements
- Video recordings
- Audio recordings
- Demonstrative evidence (charts, models, etc.)
How Did Evidence Impact the Duggar Case?
During the Josh Duggar child pornography trial, a judge denied motions to support evidence taken from Josh Duggar’s electronic devices.
The video in question was challenged as inadmissible due to the fact that the video had not been completely downloaded. However, a second video had been downloaded after the failure to fully download the first which a judge agreed provided probable cause to search Duggar’s devices. Both videos were found to contain child pornography.
When is Evidence Excluded?
Evidence is excluded for numerous reasons such as: irrelevance, failure to authenticate the evidence, hearsay, and privilege. Evidence may also be excluded from a case if it is believed to mislead jurors, or cause unfair prejudice to the other side.
Moreover, a defendant may move to have evidence suppressed if it was obtained in an illegal manner such as through an unlawful police search.
Criminal Law Attorneys in Northern Virginia
King Campbell Poretz Mitchell, PLLC is a criminal defense and civil litigation firm whose practice focuses on federal and state criminal defense, general and complex civil litigation, and a variety of fiduciary matters.
To learn more about who we are and the services we offer please visit our website today, or call to speak with a member of our team at (703) 468-8557.