What Makes Evidence Inadmissible in a Minnesota Court?
Whether you’re pursuing a civil case or challenging criminal charges, your case relies on good evidence. However, Minnesota courts have strict rules in place regarding the quality of the evidence you bring forward. You need to abide by these expectations if you want a judge to take your case seriously.
Don’t waste time trying to wade through what is acceptable evidence alone. Contact a Knutson + Casey attorney instead. Our team can assess your case and compile a docket built on strong, court-admissible evidence.
Minnesota Courts Want Evidence to Reflect the Facts of a Case
Minnesota courts view evidence as the definitive facts referring to a criminal or civil case. Without evidence, any claims that parties bring before a judge cannot be verified and/or interpreted.
That said, the Minnesota Rules of Evidence identifies some forms of evidence that is considered inadmissible in both criminal and civil courts. The state believes that these forms of evidence have no bearing on the validity of applicable cases. Including this evidence in a case can subsequently undermine any statement that you and an attorney intend to make.
Character Evidence is Inadmissible in Minnesota Courts
Minnesota courts do not consider anecdotes or information about an individual’s personality to be admissible in a court of law except under specific circumstances. Often times, one cannot present information regarding an individual’s character in an attempt to indicate whether or not they were capable of committing an allegedly-illegal act.
That said, interested parties can present evidence pertaining to the personality of the accused, victim, and even witnesses under certain circumstances. Minnesota Courts establish these exceptions in Rules 607-609. The Minnesota Rules of Evidence are complex and hard to navigate. The attorneys at Knutson + Casey have the proper education, training, and experience to help you utilize those exceptions in your criminal case.
You Cannot Mention a Defendant’s Criminal Record
While the individual held liable for an allegedly-illegal act may have a criminal record, the prosecution is not permitted to submit that criminal record as evidence of potential wrongdoings in a new case. The only circumstances in which the prosecution may discuss the accused’s criminal record are when elaborating on opportunity, knowledge of an area, or proof of motive.
Clients May Submit Hearsay Under Certain Circumstances
Hearsay, or unsubstantiated rumors, do not often have a place in court. Many Minnesota courts consider hearsay to be inadmissible evidence. If you or your attorney cannot substantiate a statement with additional evidence, you should not include it in a complaint or an in-court argument unless those statements fall under one of the hearsay exceptions.
That said, there can be some confusion as to what statements qualify as hearsay and which ones don’t. Statements that do not count as hearsay in a court of law include:
- Misunderstandings of state law
- Inconsistent testimonies
- Misidentification of an individual
- Statements that an individual believes to be true
You can work with an experienced attorney prior to your trial to determine whether or not you have instances of hearsay included in the evidence you intend to present before a judge.
How to Gather Evidence for an Upcoming Case
Whether you’re collaborating with a criminal defense attorney or a civil representative, you need evidence to back the claims you intend to make in court. Your legal representative can work independently or with the help of private investigators to elaborate on the claims you want to present to a judge.
You can be as involved or detached from the process of gathering evidence as you so choose. However, most legal representatives will require you to present testimony regarding your position to a specific case. You can work out when you’d like to present this testimony and how you’d like it used during an initial case consultation.
The Attorneys at Knutson + Casey Can Gather Admissible Evidence for Your Upcoming Case
Both civil and criminal cases are only as strong as their evidence. Before you submit your case to a county clerk or judge, you need to make sure you’ve only included acceptable evidence in your docket. Any attempt to submit inadmissible evidence to a Minnesota court may only weaken your case.
Our attorneys can step in and make sure that the evidence included in your court case complies with Minnesota courts’ expectations. If you’re struggling to distinguish acceptable evidence from inadmissible data, contact Knutson + Casey. Our team works to keep your case as watertight as possible. We can discuss your desired representation at (507) 344-8888 or through our website.