Orange County Criminal Lawyers
Dissuading a Witness or Victim (PC 136.1) in Anaheim
In the city of Anaheim, according to California Penal Code 136.1, preventing (or attempting to prevent) a victim or witness from reporting or testifying to a crime is a criminal act.
The elements needed in order for something to be considered dissuading a witness or victim are that you must have knowingly attempted to or actually had prevented a victim or a witness from reporting a crime, attending or testifying, or aiding in the arrest or prosecution process. For example, in order to satisfy the “knowingly” element, you must have known that they were a witness or a victim and were thus trying to prevent them from doing something pertaining to their role in an investigation.
When convicted, the crime could either be considered a misdemeanor (minor) crime, or a felony (major) crime. The crime could be considered a felony if the use of force was involved against the other party, because of any prior convictions for the same reasons, or if you were hired to perform those particular threatening/harmful acts. An example of a circumstance involving force or a threat of force would be someone going up to a witness who is about to testify and saying that if they say anything harmful about the other party, that they will assault them in the parking lot after the trial. Regardless of whether or not the person actually intends to physically assault the person in the parking lot and actually does, it is likely that instance would be considered a felony.
Some common examples of the crime of ‘Dissuading a Witness or Victim’ include:
- A husband ‘warning’ a wife that ‘something bad will happen’ if she testifies against him in a divorce court proceeding
- A man offers a woman some money or incentive not to report an unwanted sexual encounter as a rape to the police
If you are charged with the crime of ‘Dissuading a Witness or Victim,’ you are likely to face very serious charges. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the prosecution can choose to charge you with a felony or a misdemeanor charge.
If you feel that you have been wrongfully accused of the crime, it is important to have a criminal defense attorney by your side to defend your case. Some of the defense strategies that the attorney will explore on your behalf include:
- The accusations are false and the arrest is wrongful. Such instances are quite common in domestic violence cases
- If you were not malicious in your intent to interfere with the victim (or witness) reporting a crime or if you did not know that the person was a victim or witness in the first place, then you are simply not guilty of the crime
- Sometimes, the prosecution may not have evidence that they can corroborate the charges with and the defense strategy may be to prove that there is not sufficient evidence to prove the case
Our defense lawyers are experienced in helping defendants in all types of cases, witness tampering cases notwithstanding. Call our office today to speak with an attorney about your case.