Harmless error is an error by a trial judge in the conduct of a trial that an appellate court finds was not damaging enough to the appealing party's right to a fair trial to justify reversing the judgment, or to warrant a new trial. Harmless errors include:
- Technical errors that have no bearing on the outcome of the trial, and
- An error that was corrected, such as mistakenly allowing testimony to be heard, but then ordering it stricken and admonishing the jury to ignore it.
The difference between a harmless error and a reversible error is that reversible error requires a conviction be overturned and harmless error does not. See Earll v. State, 2001.
[Last updated in March of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]