Rules of evidence are a set of evidence rules that authorize how to collect, present and apply evidence for each case in courts of law. Rules of Evidence are construed to secure fairness in administration and elimination of unjustifiable expense and delay. In addition, the rules aim at promotion of growth and development of the law of evidence for ascertaining truth and justly determining proceedings.
Apart from Federal Rules of Evidence, each U.S. state has its own set of rules of evidence. Some of the examples for such rules of evidence are Alabama Rules of Evidence, Alaska Rules of Evidence and Arizona Rules of Evidence. The rules of evidence were developed over centuries and are based upon the rules from Anglo-American common law. The rules vary depending upon whether the venue is a criminal court, civil court or family court, and they vary by jurisdiction.
In almost all the states the rules of evidence other than those with respect to privileges do not apply in the following situations:
- During determination of questions of fact preliminary to admissibility of evidence when the issue is to be determined by the court.
- Proceedings before grand juries.
- During miscellaneous Proceedings such as for extradition or rendition; detention hearing in criminal cases; sentencing, granting or revoking probation; issuance of warrants for arrest, criminal summonses, and search warrants; and proceedings with respect to release on bail or otherwise.
However, these exceptions cited above changes from one state to another. The purpose of the rules of evidence is ultimately to be fair to both parties of a case. The rules are sometimes criticized as a legal technicality, but are an important part of the system for achieving a just result.