Legal Dictionary

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Excited Utterance

An excited utterance is a statement relating to a startling condition made while the declarant (person who makes the hearsay statement) is still under the stress caused by the condition. An excited utterance may be allowed in evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule on the theory that people cannot make up lies under these circumstances. For example, if during a shooting, a witness screams out, “Oh my god, Jimmy is shooting at us,” this out of court statement could be offered in court as proof of the identity of the person who was shooting the gun. If the person making this out of court statement was under the stress of the incident or moment, then this statement (which is a hearsay statement) could be offered by another witness testifying in court to prove that Jimmy shot at those people. An excited utterance is also referred to as a “spontaneous statement.”