Nebraska Revised Statute 27-609

Chapter 27


Rule 609. Impeachment by evidence of conviction of crime; general rule; time limit; effect of pardon, annulment, or equivalent procedure; juvenile adjudications; pendency of appeal.

(1) For the purpose of attacking the credibility of a witness, evidence that he has been convicted of a crime shall be admitted if elicited from him or established by public record during cross-examination, but only if the crime (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 the punishment.

(2) Evidence of a conviction under this rule is not admissible if a period of more than ten years has elapsed since the date of such conviction or of the release of the witness from confinement, whichever is the later date.

(3) Evidence of a conviction is not admissible under this rule if the conviction has been the subject of a pardon, annulment, or other equivalent procedure which was based on innocence.

(4) Evidence of juvenile adjudications is not admissible under this rule.

(5) Pendency of an appeal renders evidence of a conviction inadmissible.


  • Laws 1975, LB 279, § 42.


  • 1. Prior convictions

  • 2. Miscellaneous

  • 1. Prior convictions

  • Subsection (1) of this section applies not only to the questioning of an opposing party’s witnesses, but also to the questioning of the party’s own witnesses. State v. Castillo-Zamora, 289 Neb. 382, 855 N.W.2d 14 (2014).

  • For the purposes of this section, one has been convicted of a crime only after a finding of guilt, an imposition of a sentence, and the expiration of the time for appeal. Ipock v. Union Ins. Co., 242 Neb. 448, 495 N.W.2d 905 (1993).

  • Under subsection (2) of this section, cross-examination of a witness regarding the witness' previous felony convictions and the number thereof is proper, but only if 10 or fewer years have elapsed since the date of conviction or the release of the witness from confinement. State v. Kramer, 238 Neb. 252, 469 N.W.2d 785 (1991).

  • Prosecutor's further inquiry as to the nature of the defendant's previous conviction of false information after the defendant admitted his conviction was clearly improper and constituted reversible error. State v. Garza, 236 Neb. 202, 459 N.W.2d 739 (1990).

  • When a defendant testifies on his own behalf, the prosecuting attorney may question him as to his previous convictions for felony and the number thereof, but no details as to the nature of the charges or other details may be elicited or received. State v. Whiteley, 234 Neb. 693, 452 N.W.2d 290 (1990).

  • For proper impeachment under this section, although the State may elicit information concerning the number of a defendant's convictions within the last ten years, the State is prohibited from naming or identifying the crime underlying defendant's conviction and from inquiring into details surrounding the conviction. Whether a defendant's prior conviction is admissible for the defendant's impeachment is a preliminary question of admissibility to be determined in accordance with Neb. Evid. R. 104. State v. Olsan, 231 Neb. 214, 436 N.W.2d 128 (1989).

  • In attacking the credibility of a witness under this section by establishing that such witness has previously committed a felony or a crime involving dishonesty or a false statement, the inquiry must end there, and it is improper to inquire into the nature of the crime, the details of the offense, or the time spent in prison as a result thereof. State v. Johnson, 226 Neb. 618, 413 N.W.2d 897 (1987).

  • A conviction for the offense of issuing a bad check in violation of section 28-611 is, as a matter of law, a crime involving dishonesty or false statement. State v. Fleming, 223 Neb. 169, 388 N.W.2d 497 (1986).

  • If, upon questioning, a witness admits to a prior conviction, the inquiry should end there, and thereafter it is improper to inquire into the nature of the crime or the details of the offense. State v. Daugherty, 215 Neb. 45, 337 N.W.2d 128 (1983).

  • In the absence of something other than ordinary stealing, petit larceny is not a crimen falsi as contemplated by the phrase in this section; if such special circumstances exist, it is incumbent upon the prosecution to bring them to the court's attention. State v. Williams, 212 Neb. 860, 326 N.W.2d 678 (1982).

  • Evidence of conviction of a crime is, in some respects, more limited than under former section, but is not restricted to felonies as such. State v. Lang, 197 Neb. 47, 246 N.W.2d 608 (1976).

  • While this section clearly allows a witness' credibility to be attacked with previous convictions, this section does not include pending charges. State v. White, 15 Neb. App. 486, 732 N.W.2d 677 (2007).

  • The fact of a felony conviction is properly used for impeachment under this section. Burke v. Harman, 6 Neb. App. 309, 574 N.W.2d 156 (1998).

  • Once a prior conviction has been established, the inquiry must end, and it is improper to inquire into the nature of the crime, the details of the offense, or the time spent in prison as a result thereof. State v. Edwards, 2 Neb. App. 149, 507 N.W.2d 506 (1993).

  • 2. Miscellaneous

  • The prosecutor's improper further inquiry into codefendant's prior conviction was not unfairly prejudicial to defendant because such conduct and the trial court's failure to declare a mistrial did not materially influence the jury in a verdict adverse to a substantial right of the defendant. State v. Garza, 236 Neb. 215, 459 N.W.2d 747 (1990).

  • Evidence of juvenile adjudication is not admissible for purpose of impeachment. State v. Beach, 215 Neb. 213, 337 N.W.2d 772 (1983); State v. Caradori, 199 Neb. 691, 260 N.W.2d 617 (1977).

  • Where a criminal defendant testified in his own behalf, he was subject to the same rules of cross-examination as any other witness. State v. Pitts, 212 Neb. 295, 322 N.W.2d 443 (1982).

  • A conviction will not be set aside unless the defendant meets his burden of showing that the claimed error created not merely a possibility of prejudice but, rather, that it worked to his actual prejudice. State v. Gore, 212 Neb. 287, 322 N.W.2d 438 (1982).

  • Specific instances of conduct of witness relative to credibility, other than conviction of crime, may not be proved by extrinsic evidence, but in discretion of court may be inquired into on cross-examination concerning character for truthfulness or untruthfulness. State v. Fonville, 197 Neb. 220, 248 N.W.2d 27 (1976).