Orange County Criminal Lawyers
Destroying or Concealing Evidence (PC 135) in Anaheim
According to California Penal Code 135, it is illegal to knowingly and willingly destroy or conceal evidence in an investigation, inquiry, or trial with the intention of preventing the evidence from being used in the prosecution of a criminal or civil court case.Important elements for a ‘Destroying or Concealing Evidence’ conviction
Therefore, the main elements that must be proved by the prosecution for a successful conviction to be made include:
- Knowingly and willfully destroying evidence, meaning that the offender has to know that the evidence could be used as evidence and the offender also needs to have the intention to destroy the evidence.
- Any type of evidence must be destroyed or concealed. This can include a legal document, drugs or drug paraphernalia, a weapon or anything material
- You must successfully or almost successfully destroy or conceal the evidence
- The destroyed or concealed evidence needs to be the subject of a legal proceeding, some of which may include:
- A criminal investigation before an arrest is made
- A civil or criminal trial
- A police investigation of illegal activity in a prison
- A parole violation hearing
An example of an incident of destroying or concealing evidence would be someone guilty of administering fake ID’s in order to sell them to underage people to buy alcohol destroying his ID-making equipment and throwing it away after someone informed him that the police were coming in order to question him about his involvement in making the fake ID’s. If the man was eventually found to be guilty for committing the crime of making fake ID’s, then the charge of destroying or concealing evidence would be added to his offense of selling fake ID’s.
A possible defense for destroying or concealing evidence pertaining to an investigation is that you were not aware of the fact that the evidence you were dealing with was relevant to anything legal. For example, if you were to throw away files from your computer, thinking that they wouldn’t be used in any investigation, then that would not constitute destroying or concealing evidence. Another defense is that any legal proceedings had not begun or happened at the time that you destroyed or concealed any evidence. For example, if someone were to get rid of a weapon used in an illegal altercation immediately after the incident, and then 6 months later, a legal proceeding was opened up to investigate the occurrences, then that would not be considered destroying or concealing evidence because of the lack of a legal proceeding at the time the weapon was gotten rid of.Punishment and penalties
The state of California and by extension, the city of Anaheim charges the crime of destroying or concealing evidence as a misdemeanor. The penalties and punishment for the crime include a county jail sentencing of up to 6-months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
If you are charged with Destroying or Concealing Evidence, it is critically important that you call a competent attorney who can defend you against the charges and possibly prevent the matter from getting on your record.
Call our law office to have your case evaluated by a defense lawyer now if you think you will be charged with destroying or concealing evidence.