Orange County Criminal Defense
Sex Crimes Propensity Evidence The Right Lawyers. The Right Results. Make the Right Choice.TM  

Newport Beach Sex Crimes Propensity Evidence Attorney

What is propensity evidence?

Propensity evidence is evidence of one crime that is used to show the defendant is more likely to have committed another crime. For example, the prosecution could use evidence of another act of domestic violence to help prove that the defendant committed the current crime of domestic violence. Crimes would have to be similar in nature for propensity evidence to work. The prosecution cannot use a prior DUI to show the defendant currently committed a sex crime. There are two types of crimes, though, where propensity evidence is allowed – sex crimes and domestic violence. Evidence Code section 1108 governs propensity evidence in sex crime charges. (Visit the domestic violence section of our website for a discussion of Evidence Code section 1109).

Evidence Code section 1108

Evidence that a defendant has committed a sex crime at some other time can be used against him to show that he is more likely to have committed a current sex crime, under Evidence Code section 1108. Specifically, Evidence Code section 1108 (a) states:

In a criminal action in which the defendant is accused of a sexual offense, evidence of the defendant’s commission of another sexual offense or offenses is not made inadmissible by Section 1101, if the evidence is not inadmissible pursuant to Section 352.

What this translates into is that the prosecution can use evidence of another sex offense to prove that the defendant committed a current sex offense.

Evidence Code section 1108 further defines what constitutes a qualifying sex offense. The prosecution cannot simply introduce evidence of any crime and call it a “sex offense.” The evidence of another sex offense must meet the definitions laid out by Evidence Code section 1108.

There are some limitations to this rule under Evidence Code section 352, but practically speaking, if there’s evidence that a defendant has a sex crime on his record, the prosecution will introduce that evidence to the jury to help them prove the defendant committed the current sex offense. There is no set time limit on how far in the past the sex offense could be. The prosecution is often allowed to use convictions for sex offenses that are over 10 years old (sometimes even more than 30 years old) to prove current sex crimes. The evidence of another sex offense doesn’t have to be in the past, either. Let’s say a defendant was accused of committing a rape in 2001 but his trial only started in 2003, and during that time, he committed and was convicted of sexual battery in 2002. The prosecution can use evidence of the sexual battery in the rape trial, even though the sexual battery occurred after the alleged rape. Finally, the evidence of the other crime does not even require a conviction. Using the previous example, even if the defendant were acquitted of the sexual battery, the prosecution could still use evidence of the sexual battery in the rape trial! This code section is a powerful tool for the prosecution in sex cases.

Make the Right Choice

Reasons to Choose Right Choice Law
  • Choose Our Experience

    Our team at Right Choice Law is backed by 60 years of combined experience.

  • Choose Our Character

    You don't need just a good attorney. You need an attorney that you can trust to protect your future.

  • Choose Our Perseverance

    We are committed to our clients. We will spend as much time as it takes to get the best result possible.

  • Choose Our Training

    At Right Choice Law, all of our lawyers are former Deputy District Attorneys.

  • Choose Our Intelligence

    Principal Attorney Fred Thiagarajah is a member of MENSA, the international high-IQ society.

  • Choose Our Knowledge

    Laws are constantly changing. Our attorneys are up to date on all the latest developments with constant research and regular attendance at seminars.

We Are Dedicated 
to Your Success

Meet the Right Attorneys for You

Hundreds of 5-Star Reviews

We Earned Our Reputation by Fighting for Yours
  • “Thank you for all your effort, kindness and knowledge of the law. Thank you for having represented me and for having made this process so easy and painless. Thank you for making the rest of my life a lot more peaceful. Keep up with the good work.”

    - Former Client
  • “I took the court program upon the recommendation of Fred. He helped not only with court but helped me realize I should take this program if I really wanted to live a better life. Today, life is good. Thanks Fred”

    - V.P.
  • “Some attorneys that I spoke to don't even really take the time to truly understand what you have going on. They only care about the facts (which I get), but not the person dealing with the difficult problem. You don't get that feeling with Fred.”

    - Kenny
  • “Fred made it clear to the judge that I was falsely accused. He saved my professional career. I am SO thankful that I was represented by Fred. I highly recommend him.”

    - Former Client
  • “In the end, all charges were dismissed against me. If you want the best criminal defense attorney on your side, Fred Thiagarajah is not the just the Right Choice, he's the only choice.”

    - Former Client

Start Your Defense

Request a Free Consultation
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.