Code of the District of Columbia

§ 14–305. Competency of witnesses; impeachment by evidence of conviction of crime.

(a) No person is incompetent to testify, in either civil or criminal proceedings, by reason of his having been convicted of a criminal offense.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), for the purpose of attacking the credibility of a witness, evidence that the witness has been convicted of a criminal offense shall be admitted if offered, either upon the cross-examination of the witness or by evidence aliunde, but only if the criminal offense (A) was punishable by death or imprisonment in excess of one year under the law under which he was convicted, or (B) involved dishonesty or false statement (regardless of punishment). A party establishing conviction by means of cross-examination shall not be bound by the witness’ answers as to matters relating to the conviction.

(2)(A) Evidence of a conviction of a witness is inadmissible under this section if —

(i) the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent procedure granted or issued on the basis of innocence, or

(ii) the conviction has been the subject of a certificate of rehabilitation or its equivalent and such witness has not been convicted of a subsequent criminal offense.

(B) In addition, no evidence of any conviction of a witness is admissible under this section if a period of more than ten years has elapsed since the later of (i) the date of the release of the witness from confinement imposed for his most recent conviction of any criminal offense, or (ii) the expiration of the period of his parole, probation, or sentence granted or imposed with respect to his most recent conviction of any criminal offense.

(c) For purposes of this section, to prove conviction of crime, it is not necessary to produce the whole record of the proceedings containing the conviction, but the certificate, under seal, of the clerk of the court wherein the proceedings were had, stating the fact of the conviction and for what cause, shall be sufficient.

(d) The pendency of an appeal from a conviction does not render evidence of that conviction inadmissible under this section. Evidence of the pendency of such an appeal is admissible.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 519, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 550, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 133(a).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 14-305.

1973 Ed., § 14-305.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 24-906.