affidavit | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Procedural Law

An affidavit is a written or printed statement made under oath.  A person creating such a statement is known as the affiant.

An affidavit is a legal document that is used to provide written evidence in a court of law. It is a written or printed statement made under oath by a person, known as the affiant, who swears to the truthfulness of the information contained in the affidavit. The purpose of an affidavit is to provide a reliable and admissible record of facts or events that can be used as evidence in court.

Affidavits can be used in a variety of legal contexts, including civil and criminal cases, and can be used to provide evidence of any kind of fact that is relevant to the case. For example, an affidavit may be used to provide evidence of an individual’s identity, to document a transaction or agreement between parties, or to provide evidence of events that took place in a particular location or at a particular time.

In order for an affidavit to be admissible in court, it must meet certain legal requirements. First, it must be signed by the affiant under oath, affirming that the information contained in the document is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge. Second, it must be witnessed or notarized by a person authorized to administer oaths, such as a notary public or a court official. This ensures that the affidavit is a sworn statement made under penalty of perjury.

In the context of law enforcement, affidavits are often used to obtain search warrants or arrest warrants. A police officer or other law enforcement official may submit an affidavit to a judge or magistrate outlining the facts that support the need for the warrant. The affidavit may include information about suspected criminal activity, the location of evidence, or the identity of suspects.

In the corrections context, they may be used by inmates to provide evidence of mistreatment or abuse by corrections staff. Inmates may submit affidavits to a court or other legal authority to document their experiences and provide evidence of any wrongdoing.

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Last Modified: 04/13/2023


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