Los Angeles Dissuading a Witness or Victim Lawyers
According to California Penal Code Section 136.1 PC., it is a serious criminal act to advise or attempt to dissuade a victim or witness from either reporting a crime or testifying about a crime at any trial, court proceeding, or inquiry that is authorized by the law. Depending on the circumstances surrounding this “wobbler” crime, prosecutors can charge this crime as either a misdemeanor or felony.
In order for a prosecutor to prove allegations of intimidating a witness or victim, they must establish the following truths:
- The offender acted purposely and maliciously
- The offender prevented or dissuaded, or attempted to prevent or dissuade the victim or witness
The prosecutor must also prove that the above actions were committed in order to prevent or dissuade the victim or witness from:
- Either appearing at or serving as a witness during a legal proceeding
- Reporting a crime to the proper authorities
- Aiding in the prosecution to the crime
- Assisance leading to an arrest
Someone becomes a victim the moment that there is reasonable belief that a federal or state crime has been committed or attempted against him or her.
It doesn’t matter if the defendant was successfully able to prevent or dissuade the victim or witness, nor does it matter if nobody was physically injured as a result of the defendant’s attempts at intimidation. The attempt of the defendant to prevent or dissuade a witness or victim is sufficient to be considered a crime under the California Penal Code 136.1 PC.
Intimidating or Dissuading a Witness is considered a “Wobbler” crime in the state of California, which means that the crime can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the invididual case and the prior criminal history of the defendant.
There are exceptions. If ANY of the following elements exist, the crime is always required to be charged as a felony:
- If the Intimidation involved violence or the threat of violence against the victim
- If the Intimidation was related to a greater conspiracy
- If the defendant holds previous convictions for Intimidation of a Witness or Victim
- OR if the defendant was hired by an outside party to commit the crime
Defendants charged with a felony could face four years in state prison, hefty fines, and a lifetime ban from purchasing firearms.
If the crime is filed as a misdemeanor, the consequences for Intimidating a Witness or Victim can include up to one year in jail, a maximum $1000 fine plus hefty penalty and assessment fees, and a 10-year ban restricting the defendant’s ability to purchase a firearm.
Let our Los Angeles Firm Create a Defense for You
If you or someone you know is accused of Intimidating or Dissuading a Witness or Victim, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel from an experienced and assertive Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. Our attorneys have years of combined experience building strong defense cases for clients who have faced a similar experience as you. We will take the time to answer all of your qwuestions, address any concerns you may have about your case, and explain to you in clear terms all of your legal options. Don’t place your future in the hands of a firm less capable and experienced. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.