Rulings on Evidence
Preserving a Claim of Error.
A party may claim error in a ruling to admit or exclude evidence only if the error affects a substantial right of the party and:
if the ruling admits evidence, a party, on the record:
timely objects or moves to strike; and
states the specific ground, unless it was apparent from the context; or
if the ruling excludes evidence, a party informs the court of its substance by an offer of proof, unless the substance was apparent from the context.
Once the court rules definitively on the record—either before or at trial—a party need not renew an objection or offer of proof to preserve a claim of error for appeal.
Not Needing to Renew an Objection or Offer of Proof.
The court may make any statement about the character or form of the evidence, the objection made, and the ruling. The court may direct that an offer of proof be made in question-and-answer form.
Court’s Statement About the Ruling; Directing an Offer of Proof.
To the extent practicable, the court must conduct a jury trial so that inadmissible evidence is not suggested to the jury by any means.
Preventing the Jury from Hearing Inadmissible Evidence.
A court may take notice of a plain error affecting a substantial right, even if the claim of error was not properly preserved.
Taking Notice of Plain Error.
(Pub. L. 93–595, § 1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1930; Apr. 17, 2000, eff. Dec. 1, 2000; Apr. 26, 2011, eff. Dec. 1, 2011.)