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Understanding the Importance of New Jersey’s Rules of Evidence


Rules of evidence concern what can and can’t be admitted into the record of a legal proceeding as evidence in both civil and criminal proceedings. Evidence also covers the burden of proof, admissibility, relevance, weight, and sufficiency of what should be admitted to the prosecution’s case against you. The Federal Rules of Evidence govern the admissibility of evidence in federal trials, but each state has its own rules regarding cases prosecuted by the state. In New Jersey, this is no different.

The New Jersey rules of evidence dictate what can and can’t be used as evidence in a criminal court proceeding. They were created to propagate fairness in administration and eliminate unjustified expense and delay. The rules cover judicial notice, presumptions, relevancy and its limits, privileges, witnesses, opinions and expert testimony, hearsay, authentication and identification, and contents of writing and photographs.

Why they’re important is in the prosecution of a criminal case. The prosecution will do its best to find as much evidence as possible against you to convince a jury to convict you of the crime for which you stand accused. However, if the prosecution violates or doesn’t follow the rules of evidence, whatever clues they’ve collected in error cannot be used in court against you.

For example, if the prosecution uses hearsay in a case against you, it will not be admissible except in certain cases. Hearsay is a statement offered in evidence to prove the truth of a matter asserted, but one not made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing. Hearsay can be admitted if it is contained in writing or another record of acts, events, conditions, and opinions or diagnoses made at or near the time of observation by a person with actual knowledge or from information supplied by such an individual and it is made during the regular course of business.

If your attorney can prove the prosecution violated the Rules of Evidence, he or she can prevent them from using a piece of evidence against you. A lawyer with detailed legal knowledge can make all the difference if you’re facing criminal charges.

Ensure you have a skilled Bergen County criminal defense attorney on your side. The Law Offices of Joseph R. Donahue, LLC is a firm with 30 years of experience to offer your case. Our advocate is dedicated to protecting the rights and freedoms of our clients. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at (201) 574-7919 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.

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