A voluntary ACKNOWLEDGMENT made by a party to a lawsuit or in a criminal prosecution that certain facts that are inconsistent with the party's claims in the controversy are true.
In a lawsuit over whether a defendant negligently drove a car into the plaintiff pedestrian, the defendant's apology to the plaintiff and payment of the plaintiff's medical bills are admissions that may be introduced as evidence against the defendant.
An admission may be express, such as a written or verbal statement by a person concerning the truth, or it may be implied by a person's conduct. If someone fails to deny certain assertions which, if false, would be denied by any reasonable person, such failure indicates that the person has accepted the truth of the allegations.
An admission is not the same as a confession. A confession is an acknowledgment of guilt in a criminal case. Admissions usually apply to civil matters; in criminal cases they apply only to matters of fact that do not involve criminal intent.
Admissions are used primarily as a method of discovery, as a PLEADING device, and as evidence in a trial.
Once a complaint is filed to commence a lawsuit, the parties can obtain facts and information about the case from each other to assist their preparation for the trial through the use of discovery devices. One type of discovery tool is a request for admission: a written statement submitted to an opposing party before the trial begins, asking that the truth of certain facts or the genuineness of particular documents concerning the case be acknowledged or denied. When the facts or documents are admitted as being true, the court will accept them as such so that they need not be proven at trial. If they are denied, the statements or documents become an issue to be argued during the trial. Should a party refuse to answer the request, the other party can ask the court for an order of preclusion that prohibits denial of these facts and allows them to be treated as if they had been admitted.
By eliminating undisputed facts as issues in a case, requests for admissions expedite trials. Matters that are admitted are binding only for the pending case and not for any other lawsuit.
Judicial admissions—made in court by a party or the party's attorney as formal acknowledgments of the truth of some matter, or as stipulations—are not considered evidence that may be rebutted but are a type of pleading device. Averments in a pleading to which a responsive pleading is required are admitted if they are not denied in the responsive pleading. If a party has made an admission in a pleading that has subsequently been amended, the pleading containing the admission will be admissible as evidence in the case. In civil actions any offers to settle the case cannot be admitted into evidence.
A plea of guilty in a criminal case may usually be shown as an admission in a later civil or criminal proceeding, but it is not conclusive. The defendant may explain the circumstances that brought it about, such as a PLEA BARGAINING deal. Any admissions or offers to plead guilty during the plea-bargaining process are inadmissible as evidence. Many courts refuse to admit a guilty plea to a traffic offense as evidence since many people plead guilty to avoid wasting their time and money by appearing in traffic court. A guilty plea that has subsequently been withdrawn and followed by a plea of not guilty cannot be used as an admission in either a criminal or civil case. It is considered an unreliable admission that has a potentially prejudicial effect on the opportunity of the defendant to get a fair trial.
Admissions are used as a type of evidence in a trial to bolster the case of one party at the expense of the other, who is compelled to admit the truth of certain facts. They may be made directly by a party to a lawsuit, either in or out of court; or implicitly, by the conduct of a party or the actions of someone else which bind the party to a lawsuit. When an admission is made out of court, it is HEARSAY because it was not made under oath and not subject to cross-examination. Although hearsay cannot be used as evidence in a trial because of its unreliable nature, admissions can be introduced as evidence because they are considered trustworthy. An admission by a party can be used only to prove the existence of the fact admitted and to impeach the credibility of the party. An admission by a witness can be introduced as evidence only to discredit the witness's testimony.
An admission against interest is a statement made by a party to a lawsuit, usually before the suit, that contradicts what he or she is now alleging in the case. Because the statements tend to establish or disprove a material fact in the case, they are considered admissions against interest. The truth of such statements is presumed because people do not make detrimental statements about themselves unless they are true.
Such an admission is considered an exception to the hearsay rule and, therefore, can be used as evidence in a lawsuit.