Destroying The Credibility of a Witness In Texas: 5 Factors

In a criminal jury trial the credibility of the witnesses is the key to a guilty or not guilty verdict. If the credibility of the key witness can be destroyed then a jury is more likely to return a verdict of Not Guilty. One of the primary ways to destroy a witnesses credibility is by impeaching them with a prior conviction under Rule 609 of the Texas Rules of Evidence. Here are 5 factors that come into play when impeaching the credibility of a witness with a conviction.

1. A witness may be impeached with any felony conviction. This can be a conviction for prison time or probation.

2. A Witness may be impeached with a misdemeanor conviction of theft.

3. A witness may be impeached with a crime of moral turpitude.

4. The judge must determine the probative value of admitting the evidence outweighs the prejudicial effect of admitting the evidence against the other party.

5. Not more than 10 years has passed since the conviction or discharge of sentence  to the time the witness testifies.

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