Quick Reference of Impeachable Offenses

MAV2BETA yellow paper impeachment

Quick Reference of Impeachable Offenses

Note:  This list is not all inclusive.  The list incorporates selected items (indicated by “*”) from A Reference Chart of Impeachable and Non-Impeachable Offenses. (The Western Maryland Law Journal, Vol. 1. No. 1. 1998, page 66 (available: https://thewesternmarylandadvocate.com/the-western-maryland-law-journal/)).  The list incorporates selected items (indicated by “**”) from Bonsib, Robert & Coleman, Megan, A Quick Reference to the Use of Prior Convictions, Prince George’s County Bar Association News Journal, September 2014 (available: http://mcdaa.org/images/downloads/Resource_Misc/prior_convictions.pdf)


CDS Related

CDS Manufacturing:* (See: Carter v. State, 80 Md. App. 686 (1989)).

Cocaine Distribution:* (See:  State v. Giddens, 335 Md. 205 (1994)).

Conspiracy to Distribute CDS: (In Re Gary T. 222 Md. App. 374 (2015) case abrogated Wallach v. Bd. of Ed., 99 Md. App. 386 (1994)).

Possession with Intent to Distribute: (State v. Woodland, 337 Md. 519 (1995)).

Importation of PCP:* (See: Love v. Curry, 104 Md. App. 684 (1995)).

Marijuana Distribution:* (See: State v. Woodlawn, 337 Md. 519 (1995)).

Theft Related

Theft:* (See: Horne v. State, 321 Md. 547 (1991)).

Embezzlement: (See: Beales v. State, 329 Md. 262 (1993)).

False Statement, Fraud, False Pretenses:* (See: Wicks v. State, 311 Md. 376 (1988)).

Auto Theft: (See: Calloway v. State, 141 Md. App. 114 (2001)).

Unauthorized Use of M/V:* (See: State v. Hutson, 281 Md. 455 (1977) see also: Thomas v. State, 422 Md. 67 (2011)).

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degree Burglary (Braun v. State, 230 Md. 82 (1962)).

4th Degree Burglary (under CR 6-205 (c)): (See: Bane v. State, 73 Md. App. 135 (1987); see further: Notarianni, Paul J. Is Fourth Degree Burglary Impeachable? The Western Maryland Advocate 4/27/2017 (https://thewesternmarylandadvocate.com/2017/04/27/is-4th-degree-burglary-impeachable/).


Armed Robbery: (See: Summers v. State, 152 Md. App. 362 (2003)).

Robbery:** (See: Thomas v. State, 139 Md. App. 188 (2001), and Cure v. State, 421 Md. 300 (2011)).

First Degree Arson: (See: Cure v. State, 421 Md. 300 (2011)).

Murder:** (See: Cousins v. State, 230 Md. 2 (1962); and Cure v. State, 421 Md. 300 (2011)).

Manslaughter:* (See: Hairston v. State, 68 Md. App. 230 (1986)).

First Degree Escape: (See: Gorman v. State, 67 Md. App. 398 1986)).

1st Degree and 2nd Degree Rape:** (Green v. State, 161 Md. 75 (1931), and Cure v. State, 421 Md. 300 (2011)).

Treason:** (See: Garitee v. Bond, 102 Md 379 (1905); Fulp v. State, 130 Md. App. 157 (2000); Prout v. State, 311 Md. 348 (1988)).

Perjury:** (See: Garitee v. Bond, 102 Md 379 (1905); Fulp v. State, 130 Md. App. 157 (2000); Prout v. State, 311 Md. 348 (1988)).

Obstruction of Justice:** (See: Garitee v. Bond, 102 Md 379 (1905); Fulp v. State, 130 Md. App. 157 (2000); Prout v. State, 311 Md. 348 (1988)).

Mayhem:** (See: Cure v. State, 421 Md. 300 (2011)).

Sodomy:** (See: Kirby v. State, 48 Md. 2 (1962), and Cure v. State, 421 Md. 300 (2011)).

Not Impeachable


Possession of PCP:* (See: Morales v. State, 325 Md. 330 (1992)).

Possession of Heroin:* (See: Cason v. State, 66 Md. App. 757 (1986)).

Possession of Barbiturates: (See: Lowery v. State, 292 Md. 2, 437 (1981)).

Theft Related

Breaking & Entering (4th Degree Burglary, other than CR 6-205(c)):* (See: Bane v. State, 73 Md. App. 135 (1987); see further: Notarianni, Paul J. Is Fourth Degree Burglary Impeachable? The Western Maryland Advocate 4/27/2017 (https://thewesternmarylandadvocate.com/2017/04/27/is-4th-degree-burglary-impeachable/).

Sexually Related Crimes

Attempted Rape:* (See: Watson v. State, 311 Md. 370 (1988)).

Indecent Exposure:* (See: Ricketts v. State, 291 Md. 701 (1981)).

Third Degree Sex Offense: (See: State v. Westpoint, 404 Md. 455 (2008)).

Failing to Register as a Sex Offender (ruling implied to include being on the registration at all): (See: Correll v. State, 215 Md. App. 483 (2013)).

Prostitution & Solicitation:* (See: Prout v. State, 311 Md. 328 (1988); see also: Matthews v. State, 68 Md. App. 282 (1986)).


DWI/DUI:* (See: Brown v. State, 76 Md. App. 630 (1988)).

Exceeding the speed limit and driving without a license in one’s possession: (See: Nelson v. Seiler, 154 Md. 63 (1927)).

Traffic violations including reckless driving, passing on a curve,  failing to stop at a stop sign, and driving without a license or after license is revoked: (See: Nesbit v. Cumberland Contracting Co., 196 Md. 36, 75 (1950)).


A court martial conviction for disobeying a superior officer while in the military: (See: Woodell v. State, 2 Md. App. 433, 439 n. 2 (1967)).

Assault with Intent to Murder: (See: Fulp v. State, 130 Md. App. 157 (2000) however see, Id. at Note 4, “[it is] not at all clear that a conviction of assault with intent to rape is relevant to credibility.)

Assault & Battery:* (See: State v. Duckett, 306 Md. 253 (1986)).

Assault on a Police Officer: (See: Thurman v. State, 211 Md. App. 455 (2013)).

Fleeing from Police Officer: (See: Thurman v. State, 211 Md. App. 455 (2013)).

Malicious Destruction:* (See: Pascall v. State, 71 Md. App. 234 (1987)).

Disorderly Conduct:* (See: Morales v. State, 325 Md. 330 (1992)).

Resisting Arrest: (See: Banks v. State, 213 Md. App. 195 (2013)).

Attempted Second Degree Murder: (See: Jones v. State, 217Md. App. 676 (2014)).

Practitioner Note 1: The Maryland Court of Appeals suggested the following factors to determine the probative value test of a conviction that is generally impeachable.  “Numerous courts around the country have established guidelines to be considered in weighing the probative value of a past conviction against the prejudicial effect. See, United States v. Mahone, 537 F.2d 922, 929 (7th Cir.1976), cert. denied, These factors are (1) the impeachment value of the prior crime; (2) the point in time of the conviction and the defendant’s subsequent history; (3) the similarity between the past crime and the charged crime; (4) the importance of the defendant’s testimony; and (5) the centrality of the defendant’s credibility. Mahone, 537 F.2d at 929. While these factors should not be considered mechanically or exclusively, we believe they may be a useful aid to trial courts in performing the balancing exercise mandated by [Maryland Rule 5-609].” (Jackson v. State, 340 Md. 705, 717 (1995)).

Practitioner Note 2:  To be admissible under Maryland Rule 5-609(a)(1), a conviction must be for either an “infamous crime” or a “crime relevant to” credibility. (Fulp v. State, 130 Md. App. 157, 164 (2000)). “Infamous crime” means either treason, common-law felonies, or offenses classified as crimen falsi. (Id.)  “Common law felonies mean crimes that were felonies prior to 1864.” (Id. at Note 3.) “Crimen falsi offenses ‘include crimes in the nature of perjury, false statements, criminal fraud, embezzlement, false pretense, or any other offense involving some element of deceitfulness, untruthfulness, or falsification bearing on the witness’s propensity to testify truthfully.'” (Id. quoting State v. Giddens, 335 Md. 205, 213 (1994)). “To determine the nature of the crime that led to the prior conviction, the trial court should focus on the elements needed to prove the offenses for which the witness was convicted and not upon the particular facts surrounding that conviction.” (Id.)

Practitioner Note 3: In Beales v. State, the Maryland Court of  Appeals held that it was not harmless error for a trial judge to fail to conduct an adequate balancing prior to allowing impeachment of witness by prior conviction. (329 Md. 263 (1993)).

“Turning to the facts in this case, we think that the trial court did not adequately conduct a balancing of …[a]… 14–year–old theft conviction in terms of the light it might shed on his truthfulness against its potentially unfair prejudice to …[the] defense. In so deciding, we are conscious of the strong presumption that judges properly perform their duties. [citation omitted]. We also recognize that trial judges are not obliged to spell out in words every thought and step of logic, and that the trial court did refer to ‘the new rule’ and ‘the prior rule.’ Nevertheless, when viewed as a whole, the trial court’s elliptical remarks do not sufficiently demonstrate that it assessed the relative weights of probative value and prejudicial danger. First, the trial court focused largely on the proper form of the impeaching question, rather than on its possible impact. Second, the trial court insisted that the State had a “right” to inform the jury of Lambert’s conviction, a word that suggests obligatory admissibility of the evidence, rather than discretionary admissibility based on the balancing test. Third, the trial court admitted the evidence knowing only that Lambert had been convicted of theft, but not knowing when he had been convicted; Lambert testified that his conviction was fourteen years old only at the very end of the exchange, after the trial court had ruled. The remoteness of a prior conviction is a critical factor to be weighed in the balance. Here it was not.” (Id. at 273-274).

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