Rule 609. Impeachment by Evidence of a Criminal Conviction


(a)      In General. The following rules apply to attacking a witness’s character for truthfulness by evidence of a criminal conviction:


(1)   for a crime that, in the convicting jurisdiction, was punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year, the evidence:


(A)   must be admitted, subject to Rule 403, in a civil case or in a criminal case in which the witness is not a defendant; and


(B)   must be admitted in a criminal case in which the witness is a defendant, if the probative value of the evidence outweighs its prejudicial effect to that defendant; and


(2)   for any crime regardless of the punishment, the evidence must be admitted if the court can readily determine that establishing the elements of the crime required proving — or the witness’s admitting — a dishonest act or false statement.


(b)      Limit on Using the Evidence After 10 Years. This subdivision (b) applies if more than 10 years have passed since the witness’s conviction or release from confinement for it, whichever is later. Evidence of the conviction is admissible only if:


its probative value, supported by specific facts and circumstances, substantially outweighs its prejudicial effect; and


the proponent gives an adverse party reasonable written notice of the intent to use it so that the party has a fair opportunity to contest its use.


(c)      Effect of a Pardon, Annulment, or Certificate of Rehabilitation. Evidence of a conviction is not admissible if:


(1)   the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, certificate of rehabilitation, or other equivalent procedure based on a finding that the person has been rehabilitated, and the person has not been convicted of a later crime punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year; or


(2)   the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent procedure based on a finding of innocence.


(d)      Juvenile Adjudications. Evidence of a juvenile adjudication is admissible under this rule only if:


(1)   it is offered in a criminal case;


(2)   the adjudication was of a witness other than the defendant;


(3)   an adult’s conviction for that offense would be admissible to attack the adult’s credibility; and


(4)   admitting the evidence is necessary to fairly determine guilt or innocence.


(e)      Pendency of an Appeal. A conviction that satisfies this rule is admissible even if an appeal is pending. Evidence of the pendency is also admissible.



2011 Advisory Committee Note. – The language of this rule has been amended as part of the restyling of the Evidence Rules to make them more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. These changes are intended to be stylistic only. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility. This rule is the federal rule, verbatim.




This rule is the federal rule, verbatim, and changes Utah law by granting the court discretion in convictions not involving dishonesty or false statement to refuse to admit the evidence if it would be prejudicial to the defendant. Current Utah law mandates the admission of such evidence. State v. Bennett, 30 Utah 2d 343, 517 P.2d 1029 (1973); State v. Van Dam, 554 P.2d 1324 (Utah 1976); State v. McCumber, 622 P.2d 353 (Utah 1980).


There is presently no provision in Utah law similar to Subsection (d).


The pendency of an appeal does not render a conviction inadmissible. This is in accord with Utah case law. State v. Crawford, 60 Utah 6, 206 P. 717 (1922).


This rule is identical to Rule 609 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The 1990 amendments to the federal rule made two changes in the rule. The comment to the federal rule accurately reflects the Committee's view of the purpose of the amendments.