EVIDENCE OF CHARACTER AND CONDUCT OF
A WITNESS'S CHARACTER FOR TRUTHFULNESS OR UNTRUTHFULNESS
(a) Opinion and reputation evidence of character. The credibility of a witness may
attacked or supported by evidence in the form of opinion or reputation, but subject to these
limitations: (1) the evidence may refer only to character for truthfulness or untruthfulness,
and (2) evidence of truthful character is admissible only after the character of the witness for
truthfulness has been attacked by opinion or reputation evidence or otherwise.
(a) Reputation or Opinion Evidence. A witness's credibility may be attacked or supported by testimony about the witness's reputation for having a character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, or by testimony in the form of an opinion about that character. But evidence of truthful character is admissible only after the witness's character for truthfulness has been attacked.
(b) Specific instances of conduct. Specific instances of the conduct of a witness, for
purpose of attacking or supporting the witness' character for truthfulness, other than
conviction of crime as provided in N.D.R.Ev. 609, may not be proved by extrinsic evidence.
However, in the discretion of the court, if probative of truthfulness or untruthfulness, they
may be inquired into on cross-examination of the witness (1) concerning the witness'
character for truthfulness or untruthfulness, or (2) concerning the character for truthfulness
or untruthfulness of another witness as to which character the witness being cross-examined
(b) Specific Instances of Conduct. Except for a criminal conviction under Rule 609, extrinsic evidence is not admissible to prove specific instances of a witness's conduct in order to attack or support the witness's character for truthfulness. But the court may, on cross-examination, allow them to be inquired into if they are probative of the character for truthfulness or untruthfulness of:
(1) the witness; or
(2) another witness whose character the witness being cross-examined has testified about.
(c) Privilege Against Self-incrimination.
The giving of testimony, whether by an
or by any other witness, does not operate as a waiver of the accused's or the witness'
privilege against self-incrimination when examined with respect to matters relating only to
character for truthfulness. A witness does not waive the privilege against
by testifying about a matter that relates only to a character for truthfulness.
Rule 608 was amended, effective March 1, 1990, March 1, 2005; March 1, 2014.
Rule 608 is taken from Rule 608, Federal Rules of Evidence. It develops the exception
stated in Rule 404 to the general prohibition against use of character evidence by allowing
evidence of a witness' truthful or untruthful character to support or attack the witness'
character for truthfulness.
As stated in the explanatory note to Rule 405, allowing the
opinion evidence of character represents a change in North Dakota practice.
Rule 608 was amended, effective March 1, 1990. The amendment is technical in nature and no substantive change is intended.
Rule 608 was amended, effective March 1, 2005, to substitute the term "character for truthfulness" for the term "credibility" in subdivisions (b) and (c).
Rule 608 was amended, effective March 1, 2014, in response to the December 1, 2011, revision of the Federal Rules of Evidence. The language and organization of the rule were changed to make the rule more easily understood and to make style and terminology consistent throughout the rules. There is no intent to change any result in any ruling on evidence admissibility.
Sources: Joint Procedure Committee Minutes
: of April 26-27, 2012,
page 24; January 29-30, 2004, page 21; March 24-25, 1988, page 12; December 3, 1987,
page 15; April 8, 1976,
page 27. Rule Fed.R.Ev. 608 , Federal Rules of
Evidence; Rule 608, SBAND proposal.
Rules N.D.R.Ev. 404 (Character Evidence;
Crimes or Other Acts),
N.D.R.Ev. 607 (Who May Impeach a Witness), N.D.R.Ev. 609
(Impeachment by Evidence
of a Criminal Conviction), NDREv.