Can a previous closed case be used as evidence in a new one?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a previous closed case be used as evidence in a new one?

My child’s father put his hands on me a
couple months ago and we’re set to go to
trial on that soon. A couple years ago,
I got arrested for aggravated battery
against him but it was dropped. Can that
potentially be used against me to help
his case this time?

Asked on November 17, 2017 under Criminal Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Testimony taken under oath (if any) in a prior case can be used to "impeach," or attack/weaken, testimony in a current case, by showing inconsistencies. (Say someone claims now that they have never owned a gun, but in a prior case, the admitted "on the record" to having one.) Or a prior case against person A can be used against A in certain very narrow contexts, such as to show his/her knowledge or experience with something (i.e. if someone is accused of stealing a car and claims that they would not know how to hotwire one, but they previously were convicted of hotwiring a car--that shows they know how to do this).  Those are about the only ways a prior case could be used, and do not seem to apply here, based on what you write.

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