Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A.

Baltimore Law Blog

Every Baltimore area resident has made mistakes at one point or another in their life. Most believe these mistakes should be forgiven so both sides can move on with their life.

In the justice system, individuals may wonder how past transgressions may affect a lawsuit. For example, individuals who have been convicted of an offense may wonder whether that offense can come into evidence at a separate trial based on a different incident.

For instance, one man was recently injured in a car accident after another driver drove through a red light and hit his car. The other driver was cited in the accident. Fortunately, the man's injuries were non-life threatening, although he was still hurt in the car collision.

The accident was unique because it occurred just days after the man himself had been sentenced to 60 days in jail stemming from a drunk driving accident. That accident involved an alcohol-related boat crash, and the man pleaded guilty to boating while intoxicated.

It is not uncommon for individuals who have been hurt in car crash to have some history themselves, whether it be a criminal conviction or past accidents for which they were at fault. This history will not necessarily come into evidence at a trial for the new accident, however, as there are specific rules of evidence that govern whether a past incident is admissible.

For example, evidence that a person has a certain character trait typically is not admissible to show the person acted that way on a particular occasion, with some limited exceptions. Ultimately, these rules of evidence are sometimes nuanced, and demonstrate why it is important to have effective counsel who can explain these rules and argue the person's side of the case.

Source: WBAL, "Dwyer injured in crash; other driver cited," Robert Lang, Oct. 29, 2013

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