What Is Evidence Tampering?
Tampering with evidence could change the course and outcome of a criminal case, which is why the law does not treat these matters lightly. Something seemingly harmless like deleting a text message or more serious like planting someone’s DNA in a crime scene could both result in damaging consequences.
In California, evidence tampering is defined as a person who knowingly, intentionally, and wrongfully commits the following actions involving physical, digital or video evidence:
The key elements a prosecutor must prove in an evidence tampering case is that the defendant committed evidence tampering and did so with the intent that the evidence would be wrongfully produced as genuine or true to wrongfully frame someone or change the course of the case.
This is considered an obstruction of justice and is punishable by a misdemeanor charge which may involve up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Under federal law, evidence tampering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Examples of Evidence Tampering
There are various ways someone could tamper with evidence, such as:
- Burning documents and records
- Changing the date on receipts, forms, etc.
- Deleting texts, emails, social media posts, etc.
- Disposing of evidence in a body of water, bushes, garbage can, etc.
- Flushing drugs down the toilet
- Changing the labels on prescriptions
- Planting some else’s hair, blood, semen, saliva and other DNA evidence at a crime scene
Protect Yourself at All Costs
If you were accused of evidence tampering, you must act quickly, as the prosecution will waste no time building their case against you. Whether this charge seems minor to you or not, you need legal protection and aggressive defense, as it can greatly impact the outcome of your case.
At Appel & Morse, our defense attorneys were former prosecutors, meaning we know what the other side may do to bring you down and fight back with strategic defense strategies. As a result, we have what it takes to get your charges reduced or dropped altogether.