Criminal charges can be frightening to deal with, especially if you aren't sure what steps you should take next. When you hear that you are being charged with tampering with evidence, you may become especially fearful. After all, being charged with any felony can be intimidating.
Tampering with evidence is a serious allegation, as evidence is a significant part of the American legal system. This is why the consequences can be so severe. Here's what you need to know about these charges.
What Is Evidence Tampering?
Evidence tampering is an act intended to interrupt or impair the ability of the courts to perform their services. Evidence tampering is often a misdemeanor, but it can become a felony when an individual tampers with evidence involved in a felony court case.
For instance, you may be accused of throwing away evidence that your spouse forged a check. You could also face felony tampering charges if you bleached your clothing following an assault that involved a weapon. In some cases, people are charged with tampering when they had no idea that they had contact with evidence in the first place.
Other examples of evidence tampering include:
- Intentionally misleading or lying about evidence
- Hiding bullet casings or murder weapons for somebody else
- Altering a car to ensure it does not match a vehicle description from a crime scene
Could You Be Convicted of Criminal Evidence Tampering?
To be convicted of evidence tampering, the prosecution must determine that you acted intentionally with knowledge and awareness of your actions. Evidence must point to your role in the crime. Often, criminal evidence tampering is associated with other crimes. For instance, you can be charged with murder and evidence tampering after the fact, and you could be found guilty of both. You may also face additional charges for each type of evidence you are accused of tampering with.
What Are the Potential Penalties?
The penalties associated with evidence tampering are severe, as the courts do not want to encourage people to hide or destroy evidence that may be pertinent to a felony case. If you are convicted, you could face several years in prison in addition to harsh fines.
What Can You Do to Fight These Charges?
If you are charged with evidence tampering, you need a felony lawyer on your side. These allegations are serious, and even if you know you are innocent, you need a strong defense. Contact a felony lawyer today to learn more.