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The Most Common Courtroom Objections

“Objection!” The single word is heard in courtrooms across the nation every day. An attorney gets up from their chair and utters the single word that brings the proceedings to a standstill, no matter how momentary. Attorneys do not raise objections without cause. When an attorney objects to something being asked in the courtroom, they have a reason to do so. Here are the five most common objections heard in a court of law.

1. Hearsay

A person cannot begin testimony with, “Jane told me…”. This is called hearsay. People may tell the court what they were told directly, but not what someone told them someone else said. The reason behind this rule is that the third party is not in court to provide testimony themselves during cross examination. This type of evidence is not able to be corroborated and therefore cannot be used.

2. Speculation on the Part of a Witness

A person is not allowed to guess what another’s motivations may have been. For example, a person may have seen Jane speeding away from the scene of an accident. That person can testify to seeing the car speeding away and to Jane having been behind the wheel. That person cannot testify as to why Jane may have been speeding away or what Jane’s thoughts were. Providing this type of testimony is called speculating and is not permitted.

3. Leading Witness on Direct Examination

An attorney is permitted to question witnesses in court. They can question defendants. What an attorney is not permitted to do is lead the witness. An attorney cannot phrase a question in such a way that the witness answers in a certain way. Leading questions are normally phrased in such a way that a “yes” or “no” response is all that is required. For example, an attorney cannot ask, “Your blood alcohol content was well above the legal limit, wasn’t it?”, but can ask, “What was your blood alcohol content the night you were pulled over?”

It should be noted that leading questions are permitted on cross examination.

4. Opinion

The only witnesses allowed to offer their opinions in court are expert witnesses. This is because these people have the experience and training necessary to make their opinions valid. To be permissible in court, even an expert witness’s opinions must have a solid basis. The attorney must first establish that the witness is indeed an expert in the field or on the subject.

5. Prejudice

Attorneys do not want a jury to be prejudiced. In some cases, testimony is enough to provide information to a jury. A defense attorney may present a prejudice objection is the opposing attorney attempts to show images or pictures to the jury that are shocking in nature.

If you have been arrested for a crime in Atlanta, an attorney at Hawkins Spizman Fortas will review the details of your arrest and charges at no cost to you and advise you of your legal options. Reach out to our team today and schedule your free consultation.

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