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Common Objections You Might Hear at Trial

If you are a party or a witness to a legal matter, you may be called to the stand to testify. Many people are familiar with this generally, from TV shows and movies. Witnesses are generally sworn in, and then each side gets to ask them questions. Whether the Plaintiff of Defendant (criminal cases) or Petitioner or Respondent (Civil Cases) calls the particular witness determines which side gets to question first, meaning whichever side called them witness gets the first go round of questions. After the side that called the witness has completed questioning (Direct Exam), the other side will get to ask questions (Cross Exam). Sometimes the questioning side will go back and forth a few times, until all questions are asked, and information stated.

If you are testifying, you may hear one of the attorneys “object” during your testimony. They may be objecting to the question, or to your answer. Usually when an attorney “objects” he or she will state the reason for the objection. Generally, objections seek to stop a witness from testifying to information that is outside the rules of evidence (which most states, and federal courts have published statutes). For example, a common objection is “hearsay” which refers to the witness repeating something someone else said, who is not in the courtroom, if the statement is offered to prove some element of the case.

When an attorney objects, as a witness, you must stop and wait for the judge to make a ruling as to whether you may continue to testify. Here are some common objections you may hear at trial:


  1. Competency to Testify (prior to swearing in witness)
  2. Privilege
  3. Non-qualified expert


  1. Leading
  2. Not relevant
  3. Hearsay
  4. Calls for Speculation
  5. Calls for a narrative answer
  6. Asked and answered
  7. Cumulative
  8. Prejudicial effect outweighs probative value
  9. Assumes facts not in evidence
  10. Lack of personal knowledge (no foundation)
  11. Misstatement of the record (misquoting the witness)
  12. No proper foundation (specify missing elements)


  1. Beyond the scope of direct
  2. Hearsay
  3. Asked and answered
  4. Assumes facts not in evidence
  5. Compound question
  6. Misstatement of the record (misquoting the witness)
  7. Argumentative
  8. Improper impeachment
  9. No good faith basis for the question


  1. Identification
  2. Authentication
  3. Relevancy
  4. Best Evidence
  5. Hearsay
  6. Privilege

We hope that you have found this information to be helpful. This is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your specific case, CIYOU & DIXON, P.C. can help evaluate your specific case. This blog post was written by Attorney, Lori B. Schmeltzer.


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Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1995, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. is a niche law firm focused on successfully dealing with the complexities of divorce, high-conflict child custody and family law. Known for their ability to solve extremely complex situations with high quality work and responsiveness, Ciyou & Dixon will guide you every step of the way. The family law attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. will help you precisely identify your objectives and the means to reach your desired result. In addition, this practice focus is augmented by the firm's other three core areas, namely appellate advocacy, civil practice, and firearms law. Life is uncertain. Be certain of your counselSM.

Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. of Indianapolis, Indiana, offers legal services for Indianapolis, Zionsville, Noblesville, Carmel, Avon, Anderson, Danville, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Geist, Fortville, McCordsville, Muncie, Greenfield, Westfield, Fort Wayne, Fishers, Bloomington, Lafayette, Marion County, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Allen County, Delaware County, Morgan County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Vigo County, Johnson County, Hancock County, and Tippecanoe County, Indiana.