What Does Sustained Mean In Court? (Reasons A Judge Will Sustain The Objection)

What Does Sustained Mean In Court - Sustain The Objection - What Is Sustained In Court - Sustain Meaning In Court

What does sustained mean in court?

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • what sustained means in court
  • what overruled in court means
  • overruled vs sustained
  • the different types of objections you could face in court
  • the thought process for a judge to sustain the objection in court
  • the impact of sustaining an objection in court

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

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What Does Sustained Mean In Court?

“Sustained” in court is a term used in court when a judge agrees with an objection. 

When a lawyer says “objection” in court, they’re saying something isn’t right. 

The judge then decides. 

If the judge says “sustained,” the judge agrees with the objection. 

The questioned action must stop or change. 

For example, if a lawyer asks a question that isn’t fair, another lawyer might object. 

If the judge says “sustained,” the unfair question won’t be answered. 

In simple terms, “sustained” means “I agree with the objection” in court language.

What Does Overruled Mean In Court?

In court, when a judge says “overruled,” it means they disagree with the objection a lawyer has raised. 

The question being objected to can still be asked, or the piece of evidence being objected to can still be presented. 

Unlike when an objection is sustained in court, an overruled decision allows the line of questioning or the disputed evidence to continue. 

So, if a judge doesn’t sustain the objection, they’re effectively saying the objection doesn’t apply in this situation.

And the court process continues as if the objection wasn’t made.

Overruled vs Sustained

Let’s look at overruled vs sustained.

When you “object” in court, the judge will either:

  • sustain the objection
  • overrule the objection

Let’s say that the judge’s ruling is to overrule the objection.

This means that the evidence is properly admitted to the courts and the trial can proceed.

When the objection is sustained in court, that means that:

  • the lawyer must rephrase the question, or;
  • address the issue with the evidence so that the jury hears the correct information.

Different Types Of Objections In Court

There are different types of objections that a judge could sustain in court. 

Those types of objections are:

  • Relevance Of The Question Or Evidence
  • Hearsay
  • Speculation
  • Leading The Witness

Relevance Of The Question Or Evidence

In a court case, the “relevance of the question or evidence” objection is used when a lawyer believes a question asked or the evidence offered doesn’t connect directly to the case. 

The information must have a clear, immediate connection to the facts being decided. 

If a judge agrees and declares it irrelevant, the question won’t be answered or the evidence won’t be considered. 

This keeps the focus on the key issues of the case, ensuring a fair and efficient trial.


“Hearsay” is a type of objection in court used when someone tries to present secondhand information as evidence. 

It refers to a statement made outside of court that’s brought in to prove the truth of what it says. 

For example, if a witness says, “I heard John say he stole the car,” that’s hearsay. 

The law generally doesn’t allow hearsay because it’s often unreliable. 

The person who actually made the statement isn’t in court to be questioned or cross-examined, so it’s hard to test the statement’s truth. 

However, there are many exceptions to the hearsay rule depending on the jurisdiction and the particular case.

Read More: What Is A Status Hearing


“Speculation” is an objection raised in court when a lawyer believes a witness is guessing or assuming, rather than stating facts. 

This objection ensures that only reliable and known information influences the case. 

When a witness is asked what they think might have happened or what someone else might have thought, a lawyer might object for speculation. 

If the judge agrees, the objection is sustained, and the witness won’t answer the speculative question. 

This keeps the court’s focus on factual, firsthand knowledge.

Read More: Can Charges Be Dropped At An Arraignment Hearing

Leading The Witness

“Leading the witness” is a type of objection in court. 

It’s when a lawyer asks a question that suggests the answer within the question itself. 

For example, instead of asking, “What color was the car?”, a leading question would be, “The car was red, wasn’t it?”. 

This can potentially sway the witness’s response. 

When a lawyer objects to a leading question, they’re asking the judge not to allow that question. 

The goal is to ensure that the witness provides their own independent and unbiased testimony.

Read More: What Happens If Charges Are Dropped Before Court

The Role Of A Judge In Handling Objections

The judge plays a vital role in the courtroom by ensuring the rules of law are followed. 

Part of this job involves ruling on objections raised by lawyers during the trial.

When a lawyer raises an objection, the judge has to decide whether to sustain or overrule it. 

This involves a quick but crucial process.

First, the judge listens to the objection and considers the reason behind it. 

They need to determine whether the objection aligns with the rules of evidence or procedure.

If the objection is valid, the judge will sustain it. 

This prevents the question from being asked or the evidence from being presented.

If the objection is not valid, the judge will overrule it. This allows the question to be asked or the evidence to be presented.

In essence, the judge acts as the gatekeeper of information in the trial.

This ensures only relevant and legal evidence and testimonies are considered.

Read More: Bench Trial vs Jury Trial

What Does Sustaining An Objection Mean?

When a judge says ‘sustained’ in court, they agree with an objection raised by a lawyer. 

Sustaining an objection means the judge finds the lawyer’s point valid. 

This may be because the question asked or the evidence presented:

  • doesn’t follow the rules of the law 
  • is irrelevant to the case

When an objection is sustained in court, the line of questioning or evidence objected to is stopped and:

  • the witness isn’t required to answer the question
  • the evidence isn’t shown to the jury 

In essence, the judge uses ‘sustained’ to make sure all proceedings in the courtroom are fair and stick to the rules of law.

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Impact Of A Sustained Objection

When a judge decides to sustain the objection in a court case, it changes the flow of information. 

The lawyer can’t ask the objected question, or can’t present the objected evidence. 

This can limit what the jury hears or sees, affecting their understanding of the case.

A sustained objection can also shape the testimony. 

For instance, a witness may be prevented from sharing certain information. 

This keeps the testimony aligned with the rules of evidence and procedure.

Finally, when an objection is sustained in court, it can impact the jury’s perspective. 

The jury may disregard certain information or won’t even hear it at all. 

This way, sustained objections help keep the trial fair and focused on legally relevant facts.

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