Confrontation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Confrontation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Confrontation?

In criminal cases right given to a defendant to raise objections to the evidences given by the witness in a trial and cross-examine him.

History and Meaning of Confrontation

The right to confrontation allows the accused in a criminal case to question witnesses testifying against them. The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution affords this right to defendants in criminal prosecutions. The purpose of confrontation is to ensure that the witness is telling the truth by providing an opportunity for the defendant's attorney to ask questions that may reveal bias or inconsistencies in the witness's testimony. The confrontation clause is a significant part of the criminal justice system and protects one of the most fundamental rights in a free society.

Examples of Confrontation

  • During a criminal trial, the defendant's attorney cross-examines a prosecution witness, asking questions that may discredit the witness's testimony or reveal a bias influencing their account.
  • In a domestic violence case, the victim may be cross-examined by the accused's attorney about their relationship and any prior history of disputes between them.
  • During a grand jury proceeding, the defendant may have the right to be present and confront witnesses, depending on state law and the nature of the charges.

Legal Terms Similar to Confrontation

  • Cross-examination - the questioning of a witness in court by the opposing side
  • Due process - the structural protection of individual rights under the law
  • Hearsay - evidence presented by a witness regarding something they did not directly observe or experience
  • Adversarial system - the two-sided nature of a court proceeding with one side representing the prosecution and the other the defense.