Birdsboro, PA asked in Criminal Law and Civil Litigation for Pennsylvania

Q: Can my old criminal history be used against me in a civil trial if I take my neighbor to court for noise violations?

I have a criminal history that involves several incidents of various identity theft crimes, some of which were felonies. It was resolved 10 years ago when my parole ended. After trying mediation with my neighbor he still allows his dog to bark incessantly every day for hours. I have PTSD from my time in the military and it’s very damaging to my mental health. If I decide to take him to civil court, can he use any of my criminal history against me?

1 Lawyer Answer
Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Norristown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: Why don't you just contact the police about the dog disturbing the peace? Let the cops handle it, and tell them you want to file charges against your neighbor.

To answer your question, however, your criminal history would only be relevant as to "crimin falsi" convictions -- meaning crimes which involve falsehood, fraud or deceit. Theft-related crimes would be included here. Your neighbor could bring up those past convictions (if he/she thinks to even look) and argue that you're generally untrustworthy now as a result of your past actions a decade ago. So, yes, your neighbor could bring those items to the attention of the court.

Best of luck to you.

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