Under the rules of evidence, the government, represented by the District Attorney's office, cannot use past arrests, convictions, or allegations against you in your criminal trial. There are certain exceptions, notably if the client testifies in his own defense and has a prior conviction for theft or robbery or similar crime, evidence of that conviction may be brought before the judge or jury. However, under rule 404(b), evidence of other crimes, sometimes referred to as "bad acts", may not be used by the government to prove that since you committed a crime in the past it is more likely that you committed the crime that you are currently on trial for.
This rule in not true for sex assault prosecutions. Why? Because the government does not play fair. In most sexual assault prosecutions for charges including; rape; indecent assault; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; unlawful contact with a minor; endangering the welfare of a child; and corrupting the morals of a minor, the government is going to file what is know as a "bad acts" motion. In this motion the government will seek to introduce evidence of the client's past bad acts. These act can include convictions for other crimes, but may also even included cases in which the client was found not guilty, as well as allegations that were never even reported to the police!
The government will assert a number of reasons why they should be allowed to admit such evidence, despite the fact it is almost always extremely prejudicial to the client and irrelevant to the current charges. The government may claim that these prior bad acts prove a "common plan, scheme or design", or that they somehow prove the client's intent.
Make no mistake, the government knows exactly how a judge or jury will receive such evidence in a sexual assault trial. You need a lawyer who has the experience and skill to win these motions and keep prior bad acts out of your case. If you or someone you know has been charged with rape; indecent assault; sexual assault; involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; unlawful contact with a minor; endangering the welfare of a child; or corrupting the morals of a minor, have them call Scarpello & LaTour today to speak to one of our attorneys.