Legal Dictionary

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Fact

A fact is something that exists, an aspect of reality, an actual event or circumstance. A fact is an actual happening in time or space that has taken place. The effect of a fact on a criminal action often depends on its type, for example:

  • Evidentiary Fact —A fact that is necessary for or leads to the determination of an ultimate fact. A fact that shows the existence of some other fact. Also referred to as predicate fact.
  • Fact in Evidence—A fact that has been admitted into evidence at a trial or hearing.
  • Immaterial Fact—A fact that is not essential to a matter in issue.
  • Physical Fact—A fact that has a physical component, e.g. a fingerprint.
  • Probative Fact—A fact in evidence that supports an ultimate fact, e.g., skid marks used to show the speed of a car as a predicate to showing negligence.
  • Ultimate Fact—One of the facts essential to a claim, charge, or defense such that their determination is the ultimate objective at trial