Can the DA bring up past crimes that you’ve already served time for in a new case against you?

UPDATED: Oct 25, 2010

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Can the DA bring up past crimes that you’ve already served time for in a new case against you?

My boyfriend served time 5 years ago for a gun possession charge. He is currently fighting another gun charge. He didn’t have a gun on him but he could have had access to my hand gun that I had in storage at his moms house where he does not live. Can the DA bring up the past charges to use to make him seem guilty?

Asked on October 25, 2010 under Criminal Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You need to seek consultation from a criminal defense attorney in your area on this matter.  Generally speaking, if your boyfriend takes the stand in his own behalf he puts his character in to question and the prosecutor can ask him questions as to his prior record.  That is why many defendants do not take the stand in their own behalf - even if they have rehabilitated themselves - because the prosecutor can make them look bad when they are innocent.  Get legal help on how to handle this matter.  Your legal strategy on this is very important to his defense. He may consider fighting the case without taking the stand and instead putting on witnesses on his behalf. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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