Orange County Criminal Lawyers
Tampering With Evidence in Aliso Viejo
In the city of Aliso Viejo, if you tamper with evidence or what could be considered evidence in a future case, you can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 141. It includes any circumstance where evidence is falsified, altered, or concealed.
Evidence may include includes any physical object, digital image or video recording that can or might be used in a legal proceeding, trial or investigation.
A prosecution can be successfully made against you if the evidence was tampered with in a civil case or a criminal case. Additionally, tampering with evidence in a criminal investigation that has not yet led to charges is also criminal.
Tampering of evidence includes:
- Placing or planting evidence
- Changing or modifying evidence
- Manufacturing or making evidence
- Moving evidence or
- Hiding evidence
For the prosecution to prove tampering with evidence, the following elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You knew that you were tampering with evidence
- You tampered with the evidence intentionally and willingly
- When you tampered with the evidence you intended someone to be charged with a crime
- If you are in law enforcement, it must also be proved that you were acting in your capacity as law enforcement when you tampered with the evidence
There are times where tampering with evidence may seem relevant but later prove to not be. For example, merely throwing away or trashing a piece of evidence that you did not know to be pertaining to a certain case does not constitute tampering with evidence. Other common defenses include that you were intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or a drug which prevents you from thinking clearly about your actions.
An example of tampering with evidence would be getting rid of the weapon by that someone used to murder another with the full intentions of concealing it by wrapping it up and throwing it inside of a river so that the killer would be harder to convict or find. The person tampering with the evidence had a clear awareness of the investigation and the case surrounding the murder weapon, so the argument that there was the lack of intent would not be applicable in this case. They had the direct intentions of concealing the truth and interfering with the outcome of the case.Penalties
If you are not in law enforcement or if you didn’t act in your capacity as law enforcement, then you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, the penalties include; up to 6-months in county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
If you tampered with evidence in your capacity as law enforcement, then you will be charged with a felony. If convicted, the penalty will include probation with up to 1-year in county jail or 2 to 5-years in state prison.
Since these are serious charges it is essential that you have an excellent legal team from the Johnson Criminal Law Group, familiar with the courts in Orange County, to defend your case. Contact us today.