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RULE 5-404. CHARACTER EVIDENCE NOT ADMISSIBLE TO PROVE CONDUCT; EXCEPTIONS; OTHER CRIMES

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 5. Evidence (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 400. Relevancy and Its Limits
MD Rules, Rule 5-404
RULE 5-404. CHARACTER EVIDENCE NOT ADMISSIBLE TO PROVE CONDUCT; EXCEPTIONS; OTHER CRIMES
(a) Character Evidence.
(1) Prohibited Uses. Subject to subsections (a)(2) and (3) of this Rule, evidence of a person's character or character trait is not admissible to prove that the person acted in accordance with the character or trait on a particular occasion.
(2) Criminal and Delinquency Cases. Subsection (a)(2) of this Rule applies in a criminal case and in a delinquency case. For purposes of subsection (a)(2), “accused” means a defendant in a criminal case and an individual alleged to be delinquent in an action in juvenile court, and “crime” includes a delinquent act as defined by Code, Courts Article, § 3-8A-01.
(A) Character of Accused. An accused may offer evidence of the accused's pertinent trait of character. If the evidence is admitted, the prosecution may offer evidence to rebut it.
(B) Character of Victim. Subject to the limitations in Rule 5-412, an accused may offer evidence of an alleged crime victim's pertinent trait of character. If the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may offer evidence to rebut it.
(C) Homicide Case. In a homicide case, the prosecutor may offer evidence of the alleged victim's trait of peacefulness to rebut evidence that the victim was the first aggressor.
(3) Character of Witness. Evidence of the character of a witness with regard to credibility may be admitted under Rules 5-607, 5-608, and 5-609.
(b) Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Acts. Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts including delinquent acts as defined by Code, Courts Article, § 3-8A-01 is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. Such evidence, however, may be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, common scheme or plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.

Credits

[Adopted Dec. 15, 1993, eff. July 1, 1994. Amended Oct. 20, 2010, eff. Jan. 1, 2011; Nov. 1, 2012, eff. Jan. 1, 2013.]

Editors' Notes

HISTORICAL AND STATUTORY NOTES
2010 Orders
The October 20, 2010, order rewrote this rule, which previously read:
“(a) Character Evidence Generally.
“(1) In General. Evidence of a person's character or a trait of character is not admissible for the purpose of proving action in conformity therewith on a particular occasion, except:
“(A) Character of Accused. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character of an accused offered by the accused, or by the prosecution to rebut the same;
“(B) Character of Victim. Evidence of a pertinent trait of character of the victim of the crime offered by an accused or by the prosecution to rebut the same, or evidence of a character trait of peacefulness of the victim offered by the prosecution in a homicide case to rebut evidence that the victim was the first aggressor;
“(C) Character of Witness. Evidence of the character of a witness with regard to credibility, as provided in Rules 5-607, 5-608, and 5-609.
“(2) Definitions. For purposes of subsections (a)(1)(A) and (B) of this Rule, “accused” means a defendant in a criminal case and a child alleged to be delinquent in an action in juvenile court, and for purposes of subsection (a)(1)(B), “crime” includes a delinquent act as defined by Code, Courts Article, § 3-801.
“(b) Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Acts. Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, common scheme or plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.
“Source: This Rule is derived from F.R.Ev. 404.”
2012 Orders
The November 1, 2012, order corrected a certain term and an obsolete statutory reference in (b).
MD Rules, Rule 5-404, MD R REV Rule 5-404
Current with amendments received through September 15, 2018.
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