Witness tampering is also known as intimidating or tampering with a witness, and it’s defined as a defendant’s attempts to prevent a witness from testifying in civil or criminal proceedings. The term can also apply to other cases when a witness’ testimony is critical, such as during arbitration sessions and Congressional hearings. The guilty party can face charges ranging from mild to severe, depending on the circumstances of the case. In some instances, witness tampering is included under laws on obstruction of justice.
What Constitutes Witness Tampering?
Many behaviors can potentially qualify as tampering with a witness, and the exact criterium depends on state law. Some jurisdictions require the use of threats or physical force, but others include tampering via verbal threats or bribery. Other types of behavior and situations leading to tampering charges include:
* Asking a witness to lie under oath
* Engaging in harassment or stalking to intimidate a witness
* Instructing witnesses to say certain things
* Destroying evidence
* Threatening harm or property damage to silence a witness
* Causing a witness not to testify
Depending on the jurisdiction, other behaviors may be considered witness tampering. Call a Defense Lawyer Charleston IL for help and case-specific advice.
Punishments for Witness Tampering
As previously mentioned, tampering with witnesses can bring felony or misdemeanor charges depending on the situation, and sentencing may vary by jurisdiction. For example, tampering with an informant, witness or victim can lead to a ten-year sentence, in addition to steep fines. In cases where threats were made or implemented, a 20-year sentence can result. Moreover, a person guilty of tampering with a witness can face civil damages if their behavior caused an involved party to suffer an economic loss.
Does a Person Accused of Witness Tampering Need to Hire an Attorney?
Tampering with a witness is a serious offense, and it can lead to severe consequences and felony charges depending on the case’s particular circumstances.
A defendant may need to hire Britton Law Offices LLC if they are facing accusations of witness intimidation or tampering. A Defense Lawyer Charleston IL can offer legal assistance and courtroom representation during hearings and trials.
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