ABATE of Michigan Inc.
P.O. Box 99
​Constantine, Mi. 49042

​Phone: 269 435-2058

shifting gears

Dondi Vesprini dondi@buckfirelaw.com

Phone: 248 569-4646


Fighting for the rights of all motorcyclists since 1976

            As many may know, in large part of my practice as a trial attorney, I represent motorcyclists who have been significantly injured in accidents.  A standard proceeding in any lawsuit is the taking of depositions of the parties involved in the accident.  This is where the attorney’s representing the parties have an opportunity to sit down and depose, or ask questions to, the parties involved in the accidents.  The questions asked at a depositon of an injured motorcyclist often include, but are not limited to, topics such as general backrdound information about the person; any pre-exisitng health issues; the accident at issue and the person’s injuries and treatment.  One common questons that comes up is regarding the person’s criminal history.  I have been asked many times what type of criminal history is admissible in a civil trial.  Hopefully this article will shed some light on this topic


            Under the Michigan Rules of Evidence, for the purposes of attacking the credibility of a witness, evidence that the witness has been conficted of a crime is admissible if the crime contained an element of dishonesty or false statement, or the crime contained an element of theft, was punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year or death and the Court finds  under the law under which the witness was convicted, and the court determines that the evidence has significant probative value on the issue of credibility. 


            However, in either case, if more than ten years has elapsed since the date of the conviction or the release of the witness from the confinement imposed for that convicton (whichever is later) than evidence of the conviction is not admissible.  For example, suppose you are in the midst of a trial in September of 2018.  If the witness was convicted of an otherwise admissible crime in December of 2007, but wasn’t released from prison until December of 2008, even thought the conviction was over 10 years ago it is still admissible because the release date was within 10 years prior. 


            If an otherwise admissible conviction at issue was the subject of a pardon, annulment, certificate of rehabilitation, or other equivalent procedure and the witness has not been convicted of a subsequent crime which was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year, the conviction is not admissible.


            While it depends on the circumsntaces, evidence of juvenile adjudications (convictions when the person was a minor) are generally not admissible.


            If the conviction at issue is pending on appeal, this fact does not render evidence of the conviction inadmissible.  However, in that situation, evidence that the convicton is on appeal is admissible, so as to make a jury aware of the pending appeal.


As always, if anyone has any questions or if I can be of legal assistance to you or anyone you know dealing with this issue or who has been injured in a motorcycle accident, please don’t hesitate to contact me as I deal with these types of claims on a daily basis on behalf of injured motorcyclists statewide.

            Further, if you would like to have me come out to your Region to speak or give a presentation on the legal rights of an injured motorcyclist or on any specific topic that your region may be curious about, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (248-569-4646) or shoot me an e-mail at Dondi@buckfirelaw.com.  I give presentations to Regions state-wide and there is never a charge associated with having me out.  I enjoy having the opportunity to come out and meet motorcycle enthusiasts from all parts of our State!