Tampering with a Witness


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against
Tampering with a Witness
allegations.

Tampering with a Witness involves intimidation of a witness, victim or informant. Because the State has to prove that the intimidation or force used against the witness related to the witnesses testimony, this can be difficult for the State to prove where the person charged and the witness know each other because an altercation between the two people may have nothing to do with the testimony.  for example, the State could charge a husband of tampering with a witness when he is charged with domestic battery on his wife, and the wife alleges that the husband intimidated her not to testify.  However, there may be a divorce proceeding, allegations of infidelity, or many other reasons why an altercation between to two arises.  Give the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers of SLG Law a call to discuss your particular case.



What is Tampering with a Witness

Tampering with a Witness is defined in Florida Statute Section 914.22(1).  To prove Tampering with a Witness, the State must prove:
  • You knowingly used or attempted to use intimidation or physical force against the victim, or
  • you knowingly threatened or attempted to threaten the victim, or
  • you offered pecuniary benefit or gain to the victim, and
  • you did so, with intent to cause or induce any person to:
  • alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the integrity or availability of the object for use in an official investigation or official proceeding, or
  • evade legal process summoning him or her to appear as a witness, or to produce a recorded, document or other object, in an official investigation or official proceeding, or
  • be absent form an official proceeding to which he or she has been summoned by legal process, or
  • hinder, delay or prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer or judge of information relating tot he commission or possible commission of an offense, a violation of a condition of probation or parole, or release pending a judicial proceeding, or
  • testify untruthfully in an official investigation or an official proceeding, and
  • the official investigation, official proceeding, offense, violation of a condition of probation, parole, or release affected or attempted to be affected, involved the investigation or proceeding of a:
    • non-criminal offense, or
    • misdemeanor, or
    • third degree felony, or
    • second degree felony, or
    • first degree felony, or
    • first degree felony punishable by life, or
    • life felony, or
    • capital felony, or
    • offense of indeterminable degree. 

What if there was no official proceeding?

The State doesn't have to prove that there was an official proceeding or even that an official proceeding was about to be instituted. 


What if the witness' testimony or the thing I'm charged with having someone conceal or destroy wasn't admissible in court?

You would still be able to be prosecuted for tampering with a witness.  The State doesn't have to prove that the item that you are alleged to have someone conceal or destroy was admissible, or that the testimony of the person you are accused of intimidating into not testifying was admissible. 

What if the witness is my wife and we have the husband-wife or spousal privilege?

You can still be prosecuted because the State doesn't have to prove that the testimony was admissible or that it wasn't subject to any privilege.

What if I didn't even know where the person was going to testify?

The State doesn't have to prove that you knew that the official proceeding was before a judge or court of the state, a state or local grand jury or a state agency. 

What is the potential sentence for Tampering with Evidence?

The potential sentence for Tampering with Evidence depends on the degree of crime that was being investigated or prosecuted. 

Tampering with Witness of a Non-Criminal Proceeding or Investigation
Up to 5 years

Tampering with Witness of a First Degree Misdemeanor
Up to 5 years in prison

Tampering with Witness of Third Degree Felony
Up to 15 years in prison

Tampering with Witness of Second Degree Felony
Up to 30 years in prison

Tampering with Witness of First Degree Felony
Up to life in prison

Tampering with Witness of Life or Capital Felony
Life in prison

What are the possible defenses to Tampering with Evidence?

The most common defenses to Tampering with Evidence are that you did not or were not the one who tampered with the evidence or that you did not know that the item was evidence in a trial, proceeding, or investigation, or that you did not know that there was a trial, proceeding, or investigation pending.  Give us a call to discuss the possible defenses specific to your case.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for or accused of
Tampering with Evidence,

Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!
Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)

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