You have been arrested for a crime. You have a criminal record. See how that can impact your current case.

Sometimes we do stupid things when we are young. Some of us may get DUI offenses or engage in shoplifting or drug crimes.

As we get older, we may be surprised to know that these criminal offenses can still be on our criminal record and affect any current convictions. While a person cannot automatically be found guilty of a new crime simply because they have been found guilty of previous crimes, some prior evidence can be used against them under Texas law. However, the courts generally will not use evidence for very similar prior convictions, as that is seen as prejudicial.

In any case, what has happened in the past may be used against you. This means that if you have been arrested for a crime and you have any prior convictions, you need a strong criminal defense from an Austin lawyer.

Texas Rule of Evidence

Under Rule 609, Impeachment by Evidence of a Criminal Conviction, a judge can use a person’s past criminal conviction to look for evidence of truthfulness. In fact, the evidence must be admitted into court if all three of these elements apply:

  • The crime was a felony or involved moral turpitude.
  • The probative value of the evidence outweighs its effect on the party.
  • It is elicited from the witness or established by public record.

A crime of moral turpitude is one that is wrong, not just illegal. Some examples would be theft or violent offenses. Speeding and possession of marijuana, on the other hand, are not crimes of moral turpitude. Something else to consider is that all witnesses must also abide by the Texas Rule of Evidence, not just defendants in a case,

What does probative value mean? It is determined by these five factors:

  • The impeachment value of the prior crime (how well the prior convictions can be used to negate testimony)
  • How much time has passed since the past crime and the current charged offense
  • The similarity between the past crime and the current offense
  • The importance of the defendant’s testimony
  • The importance of the credibility issue

There is also a 10-year rule that applies. This means there is a limit to using evidence that is at least 10 years old. This applies to 10 years since conviction or release from confinement, whichever occurred later. Again, the evidence of the conviction is admissible only if its probative value outweighs its effect.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

If you have a criminal record, it is possible it could affect your current case. Your punishment could be harsher, and your life could be affected in various ways.

However, the rules that apply can be confusing. Be sure to seek legal help and understand your options. Count on the Austin criminal defense lawyers at Granger and Mueller PC to help. We have worked on thousands of cases, and we will work hard to get you the best outcome possible. Schedule a consultation with our office by filling out the online form or calling (512) 474-9999.