Florida’s Williams Rule Requires Notice and Jury Instructions

Florida’s Williams Rule has certain procedural requirements that must be followed before evidence of a Jacksonville Criminal Defendant’s bad acts or wrong doings can be admitted in a jury trial. The State Attorney must file his or her Notice if Intent to Offer Similar Fact or Williams Rule Evidence. This notice must be filed at least 10 days before trial, and it must particularly describe the acts that the State plans on entering into evidence a trial. The Jacksonville Criminal Defendant is entitled to a hearing on the admissibility of the character evidence. If the evidence is admitted, the jury must be instructed about the limited reason for the introduction of the Williams Rule evidence. They must be told that they cannot convict the defendant based upon another offense. Instead, he or she cannot only be conviced of the crime for which he or she is charged.

If you have been charged with a crime in Jacksonville, Florida, it is important to make sure evidence of prior bad acts are not admitted in your jury trial. The jury is instructed that they are not to consider evidence of a Jacksonville criminal defendant’s prior bad acts as evidence that the defendant committed the crime that he is charged with. However, once the jury hears the evidence, it is hard to ask them to disregard it as evidence of the defendant’s bad character. Therefore, it is important for a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer to exclude this character evidence.

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