U.S Code last checked for updates: Jun 18, 2021
Rule 404.
Character Evidence; Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Acts.
(a)
Character Evidence.
(1)
Prohibited Uses. Evidence of a person’s character or character trait is not admissible to prove that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character or trait.
(2)
Exceptions for a Defendant or Victim in a Criminal Case. The following exceptions apply in a criminal case:
(A)
a defendant may offer evidence of the defendant’s pertinent trait, and if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may offer evidence to rebut it;
(B)
subject to the limitations in Rule 412, a defendant may offer evidence of an alleged victim’s pertinent trait, and if the evidence is admitted, the prosecutor may:
(i)
offer evidence to rebut it; and
(ii)
offer evidence of the defendant’s same trait; and
(C)
in a homicide case, the prosecutor may offer evidence of the alleged victim’s trait of peacefulness to rebut evidence that the victim was the first aggressor.
(3)
Exceptions for a Witness. Evidence of a witness’s character may be admitted under Rules 607, 608, and 609.
(b)
Other Crimes, Wrongs, or Acts.
(1)
Prohibited Uses. Evidence of any other crime, wrong, or act is not admissible to prove a person’s character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character.
(2)
Permitted Uses. This evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, absence of mistake, or lack of accident.
(3)
Notice in a Criminal Case. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must:
(A)
provide reasonable notice of any such evidence that the prosecutor intends to offer at trial, so that the defendant has a fair opportunity to meet it;
(B)
articulate in the notice the permitted purpose for which the prosecutor intends to offer the evidence and the reasoning that supports the purpose; and
(C)
do so in writing before trial—or in any form during trial if the court, for good cause, excuses lack of pretrial notice.
(Pub. L. 93–595, § 1, Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1932; Mar. 2, 1987, eff. Oct. 1, 1987; Apr. 30, 1991, eff. Dec. 1, 1991; Apr. 17, 2000, eff. Dec. 1, 2000; Apr. 12, 2006, eff. Dec. 1, 2006; Apr. 26, 2011, eff. Dec. 1, 2011; Apr. 27, 2020, eff. Dec. 1, 2020.)