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Proof of Other Crimes Can Be Used Against a Person in a Criminal Prosecution if They Are Relevant and More Probative than Prejudicial

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

Prior Bad Acts Might be Admissible Under the Michigan Rules of Evidence

In People v Lisa Lynne Bergman, the defendant was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder, drunk driving, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license causing death. The trial court allowed prior actions taken by the defendant when she either drove unsafely, was passed out in her car, or was involved in an accident while impaired or under the influence of prescription substances, or was in possession of pills like Vicodin and Soma. The defense argued that these prior acts were prejudicial to the defense, and proof of other crimes should not be admitted into evidence. The court decided that the “evidence was properly admitted to show the defendant’s knowledge and absence of mistake, and was relevant to the malice element of second-degree murder because it was probative of the defendant’s knowledge of her inability to drive safely after consuming prescription substances.” The court determined that the prior acts were minor compared to the charged offense, and the probative value outweighed any prejudice.  So, the defendant’s prior bad acts could be used to bolster the prosecution’s case against her in the current charge. The prosecutor was permitted to use proof of other crimes as evidence in the defendant’s case.

How to Stop the Prosecutor from Using Proof of Other Crimes (or Bad Acts)

To keep the prosecution from using prior bad behavior against you, a highly skilled lawyer must make well-planned, well prepared, and to-the-point arguments to the court. The judge must be convinced that to hear the prior bad acts evidence, including proof of other crimes, would cause an unfair trial or a violation of due process rights. Convincing a judge to rule against a prosecutor is often challenging, which is why you need the award-winning, highly successful attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. in your corner and working on your behalf.

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LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is the “go-to” law firm for felony and misdemeanor charges. Call us – we can help.

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