Legal Dictionary

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Fresh Complaint

A fresh complaint is one made voluntarily and reasonably promptly after a sexual assault or other crime. The Fresh Complaint Rule is a rule of evidence that allows the introduction of evidence made by a victim of a sexual assault or other crime that the victim reported the crime to someone, usually law enforcement, within a short period of time after the crime. The reporting of the crime to law enforcement on a timely basis helps bolster the credibility of the victim's allegation of the crime's occurrence. Conversely, the lack of a fresh complaint can be used by the defense to attack the victim's credibility. The period of time for the “Fresh Complaint” to be relevant depends on the facts and circumstances of each particular case.