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Shoplifting but not Murder

In Pennsylvania, evidence that a witness has a criminal record can, in certain circumstances, be introduced into evidence to cast doubt on a witness's credibility or believability. Unlike other states and the federal courts, it is not the seriousness of the crime but whether it involves dishonesty or falsity that determines if a court will allow it to be used in a trial. For example, the charge of shoplifting or retail theft is normally a minor offense but because it involves dishonesty it can be used to attack the credibility of a witness. On the other hand, first degree murder often can not be similarly used because it normally does not include an element of dishonesty. The theory of the law is that committing a crime of dishonesty raises serious doubts concerning whether a witness should be believed or not. The law does not consider the commission of other crimes not involving dishonesty to raise such doubts. 

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Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law

107 East Main St.
Uniontown, PA 15401

Phone: 724-320-2388
Fax: 724-437-2035
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113 Thorton Road
Brownsville, PA 15417

Phone: 724-320-2388
Phone: 724-785-7733
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Davis & Davis Attorneys at Law

Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law