Tampering with evidence under the California penal code is a serious offense and a felony. Individuals who tamper with evidence can be your friend, family member or even a police officer. If you are found guilty with having tampered with evidence, you could spend several years in prison and suffer other repercussions as well. If you have been accused of evidence tampering, you need to find an experienced California attorney who can fight to preserve your rights.
What is evidence tampering?
It could mean either altering, destroying or even concealing evidence to change the outcome of a court proceeding or investigation. For example, if you are a police officer who shoots an unarmed suspect, you are guilty of evidence tampering if you plant evidence to put blame on the dead suspect.
What is considered evidence?
It can be anything of physical substance such as a letter, package, document or record of something. It does not constitute any part of the human body. It can also be video files, texts, emails and even image files. Individuals need to be very careful, because they could inadvertently toss out or destroy something without the knowledge they are planting or tampering.
Prosecution of tampering with evidence
If you are suspected of tampering with evidence in California, the prosecution will come down on you with full force. Additionally, there are elements they must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction:
- You tampered with the evidence intentionally
- The defendant knew they were planting the evidence
- When the evidence was planted, they know someone else would be implicated for the crime
If you are accused of planting evidence, it is imperative that you get proper legal representation as quickly as possible. Evidence planting is a very serious offense. You will need a good attorney to map out a strategy for you.
What is the defense for planting evidence?
If you have been accused of witness tampering, you will need a defense team that can poke holes in the prosecution’s case. There are a number of offenses that can be raised on your behalf.
- Lack of knowledge – If you had no knowledge that you were actually tampering with evidence, you cannot be convicted of the crime
- Lack of intent – According to the penal code, you must have intended to manipulate the evidence in a manner to be deemed as planting or destructing
- False accusations – A person could make up the entire scenario stating that they observed you doing this when you didn’t.
What are the penalties for tampering with evidence?
If you are convicted on misdemeanor charges of tampering with evidence, you could spend up to 6 months in jail. If you convicted on a felony conviction, you could serve up to 5 years in the penitentiary.
Many people don’t understand the seriousness of this issue. Planting evidence can have serious repercussions against the intended victim. They could wind up in jail or worse because of the actions of someone else. So if you have been accused of tampering with evidence, seek out a professional as quick as possible.
The bottom line is, evidence tampering could be simply a mistake. There are things you may discard or move and not believe it is evidence tampering. If you have been accused, you will need individuals on your side to ensure you get the justice you deserve. Call on a California law firm that specializes in tampering cases. The will keep you out of the clutches of an aggressive prosecutor.