Learn about: What does Admissible mean in legal terms? What purpose does it serve? What is the difference between Admission & Confession? What evidence is considered admissible in court? Get these questions answered and more answered today!

What is an Admission in Legal Terms?

An admission is a statement made by a party, either intentionally or unintentionally, that acknowledges a fact asserted against them. Admissions can be made verbally or in writing and can be retracted or explained. They can be used as evidence in criminal or civil cases to prove guilt, liability, or damages and can also be used in negotiations and settlements. In some cases, silence can also be considered an admission.

Additionally, statements made by a party-opponent, or an out-of-court statement against their interest, are admissible in court and not regarded as hearsay. Admissions can be used to establish facts in a case, impeach a witness’s testimony, or contradict other evidence.

What is the Purpose of a Request For An Admission?

A request for admission is a formal request for a party to either admit or deny a fact or statement that is at issue in a legal dispute. It is used to simplify the process of proving facts in a case. Requests for admissions can help save time and money by avoiding the need to bring in witnesses or other evidence to prove a fact.

Admisible legal definition

What Kind of Evidence is Not Admissible in Court?

Various types of evidence can be deemed inadmissible in court, meaning they cannot be considered by the judge or jury. The admissibility of evidence depends on the rules of evidence applicable in the jurisdiction and the case’s specific circumstances. Below are some examples of evidence that may be considered inadmissible:


  1. Hearsay: An out-of-court statement intended to prove the truth of a claim. Generally, hearsay is not admissible unless it falls within an exception recognized by law, such as statements made under certain reliable circumstances or for specific purposes.
  2. Irrelevant evidence: Evidence that is not directly related to the case or has no probative value may be deemed irrelevant and excluded.
  3. Unreliable or untrustworthy evidence: Evidence deemed unreliable or untrustworthy may be excluded. For example, evidence obtained through coercion, illegal searches, or unreliable scientific tests may be considered inadmissible.
  4. Privileged communications: Certain communications are protected by privilege, which makes them inadmissible as evidence in court. Examples include attorney-client privilege, doctor-patient privilege, and spousal privilege.
  5. Unauthenticated or improperly obtained evidence: Evidence that needs to be properly authenticated, meaning it cannot be reliably connected to the case or its source, may be excluded. Similarly, evidence obtained in violation of constitutional rights or legal procedures may be deemed inadmissible.
  6. Character evidence: In some cases, proof of a person’s character or reputation may be inadmissible. This is to prevent unfair prejudice or the drawing of improper inferences. Opinion or expert evidence: Expert testimony and opinion evidence may be subject to specific requirements and restrictions. If the expert lacks qualifications or provides an opinion outside the scope of their expertise, the evidence may be excluded.

It’s important to note that admissibility rules can vary between jurisdictions and court systems. The specific rules and exceptions can be complex, ultimately leaving it up to the judge to determine what evidence is admissible in a particular case.

Is Admission the Same as Criminal Intent?

No, admission is not the same as criminal intent. An admission is a statement made for some purpose other than to acknowledge guilt of a criminal offense. Whereas criminal intent is one of the two elements of a crime that the prosecution must prove to convict a defendant, with the other element proving the defendant did the criminal act.

Proving there was intent to commit the crime must be established beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is the Difference Between Admission & Confession?

​​The main difference between an admission and a confession is the context in which they are used. An admission is a statement made by a party that acknowledges a fact or non-criminal allegation against them, which can be used as evidence in civil or criminal cases. It is a broader term that encompasses acknowledgments of liability or responsibility for various matters.

On the other hand, a confession specifically refers to an explicit acknowledgment of guilt or involvement in a criminal offense. Confessions are highly incriminating and are primarily used in criminal cases to establish the accused’s guilt of committing a crime. While an admission can be a general acknowledgment, a confession specifically pertains to criminal conduct.

Is Circumstantial Evidence Admissible in Court?

Yes, circumstantial evidence is admissible in court. It is often used in criminal and civil cases to establish a chain of events or prove a fact. Circumstantial evidence is based on inference rather than direct observation or proof.

When is a Confession Not Admissible in Court?

A confession is not admissible in court if it was given involuntarily or was obtained through coercion, duress, or other unacceptable means. Additionally, if a confession was made in a lawyer or court-appointed representative’s presence, that confession is inadmissible in court. Attorneys cannot be forced to testify against their clients in court.

Are Text Messages Admissible in Court?

Yes, text messages are admissible in court. However, certain requirements must be met for texts to be considered valid evidence in a court of law. The text messages must be authenticated, meaning that it must be proven that they were sent by the person they are attributed to. Additionally, text messages must be relevant to the case and not contain any hearsay.

Are Polygraphs Admissible in Court?

No, polygraphs are not admissible in most courts in the US because they are not considered reliable enough to be used as evidence. The results of polygraphs are based on the interpretation of physiological responses, which are subjective and can be easily manipulated.

Additionally, polygraphs cannot accurately measure the truthfulness of individuals, as they are affected by a variety of factors, such as fear, anxiety, and medications.

In Which States are Polygraphs Admissible in Court?

Polygraph tests are generally not admissible in court proceedings in the United States. However, few states have passed statutes that allow for the admission of polygraph evidence under certain circumstances. These states are:

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Florida
  5. Idaho
  6. Kansas
  7. Minnesota
  8. Mississippi
  9. Montana
  10. Nebraska
  11. New Mexico
  12. North Dakota
  13. Ohio
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. South Dakota
  17. Tennessee
  18. Texas
  19. Utah
  20. West Virginia
  21. Wyoming

When is Hearsay Admissible?

Hearsay is generally not admissible in court. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. In the United States, hearsay can be admitted in court if it falls under one of the exceptions listed in the Federal Rules of Evidence. These exceptions include statements made by an opposing party, statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment, prior consistent statements, statements made by a person unavailable to testify in court, and statements made in business records.

When is Character Evidence Admissible in a Civil Case?

Character evidence, which refers to evidence regarding a person’s character or reputation, is generally not admissible in civil cases. The purpose of excluding character evidence in civil cases is to prevent unfair prejudice and the potential for the jury to make decisions based on irrelevant factors rather than the specific facts and issues at hand.

However, certain exceptions exist where character evidence may be admissible in a civil case.

These exceptions typically arise when someone’s character is directly at issue in the case or when character evidence is specifically relevant to proving the plaintiff’s claim or being used as a defense.

  1. Defamation: In defamation cases, the character or reputation evidence about the plaintiff may become relevant and allowed if the defendant argues that the statement made was true or that the plaintiff had a poor reputation.
  2. Negligent Entrustment: In cases involving negligent entrustment, where the defendant’s liability is based on enabling another person to use a dangerous instrumentality (e.g., lending a car or firearm to someone who is known to be reckless), the defendant’s knowledge of the person’s character or history may become relevant.
  3. Child Custody: In child custody disputes, character evidence may be considered to assess the moral fitness of a parent or guardian.

It’s important to note that the admissibility of character evidence in a civil case varies depending on jurisdiction and specific circumstances. The judge must determine whether the character evidence meets the criteria for admissibility based on the particular legal standards and rules of evidence applicable in that jurisdiction.

Are Audio Recordings Admissible in Court?

Yes, in some cases, secret recordings may be admissible in court if they were obtained legally and have been authenticated. In the United States, many states have laws that require two-party consent for a recording to be considered admissible in court. Other states have laws that only require one-party consent. To determine the law in your state, consult an attorney.

It is a wiretapping crime (not admissible in court) to record someone without their consent in the following two-consent states unless authorities have been given the warrant to do so by a judge:

Two-Party Consent States:

  1. California
  2. Connecticut
  3. Delaware
  4. Florida
  5. Illinois
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Michigan
  9. Montana
  10. Nevada
  11. New Hampshire
  12. Pennsylvania
  13. Washington

Are Secret Recordings Admissible in Court?

Yes, in some cases, secret recordings may be admissible in court if they were obtained legally and have been authenticated. In the United States, many states have laws that require two-party consent for a recording to be considered admissible in court. Other states have laws that only require one-party consent.

To determine the law in your state, consult an attorney.

What is Admissible Evidence in Family Court?

In family court, the admissibility of evidence is determined by the specific rules and procedures of the jurisdiction. Family courts typically handle cases involving divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, domestic violence, and other related matters. The following are examples of commonly admissible evidence in family court:

  1. Documents: Documents such as financial records, tax returns, bank statements, employment records, medical records, school records, and other relevant documents may be admitted as evidence.
  2. Testimony: Witness testimony is often presented in family court. This can include testimony from parties involved, family members, professionals (such as therapists, counselors, or experts), and other individuals with relevant knowledge or information.
  3. Expert Opinions: Expert witnesses may be called upon to provide professional opinions on child custody evaluations, psychological evaluations, or financial assessments. The admissibility of expert views may depend on the expert’s qualifications and methodology. Photographs and Videos: Visual evidence in the form of photographs, videos, or audio recordings may be admitted if relevant and authenticated.
  4. Child’s Wishes: In cases involving child custody or visitation, the child’s wishes may be considered evidence. The weight given to the child’s wishes varies depending on the child’s age and maturity level. Typically, judges are hesitant to allow children to testify about what parent they want to live with for child custody divorce cases.
  5. Police Reports and Protective Orders: Police reports and protective orders related to domestic violence or child abuse may be admitted as evidence in family court proceedings.

It’s important to note that the rules of evidence and admissibility can vary between jurisdictions, and specific restrictions may apply in different family court cases. Parties involved in a family court case should consult with an attorney familiar with the local rules and procedures to understand the requirements for the admissibility of evidence in their jurisdiction.

Are Police Reports Admissible in Court?

Yes, police reports can be admissible in court. However, they must meet specific criteria to be admitted as evidence. The report must be relevant to the case and deemed reliable by the court. Additionally, the information must be based on facts observed by the officer during the investigation and be free from bias.

Are Therapist Notes Admissible in Court?

Whether or not therapist notes are admissible in court depends on the jurisdiction in which the case is being heard. Generally, therapist notes are protected by the psychotherapist-patient privilege, so they are not admissible in court without the patient’s consent.

However, some jurisdictions may make exceptions to this rule, such as in cases involving child abuse or other serious crimes.

Therefore, attorneys must verify the laws in the specific jurisdiction where the case is being heard to determine whether or not therapist notes are admissible, which will factor in building the defense strategy for their client.

Written by Aaron R. Winston
Last Updated: June 7, 2023 9:14am CDT