Orange County Criminal Lawyers
Tampering With Evidence (PC 141) in Anaheim
In the state of California, according to Penal Code 141, you have tampered with evidence if you: change evidence, plant evidence, hide evidence, move evidence or manufacture evidence.
The evidence here means anything physical that can be produced in a legal process, including a legal proceeding, trial or criminal investigation. The physical evidence can include digital material including video and image recordings.Elements Required to Prove Tampering with Evidence
For the prosecution to prove tampering with evidence, they must show that:
- The evidence was tampered with willfully or deliberately and not by accident
- The culprit knew that they were actually tampering with evidence
- When the culprit tampered with evidence, their intention was for someone to be charged with a crime or for the evidence to be wrongly produced as genuine in a legal proceeding
As you can deduce, the cornerstone of proving Tampering with Evidence is proving the ‘state of mind’ of the culprit to do this illegal act. Crimes in which the prosecution must prove what someone was thinking are the hardest crimes to prosecute.
An example of tampering with evidence would be someone guilty of first-degree murder for killing their housekeeper attempting to cover their tracks by planting a false murder weapon manufactured to look like it was the one used in the crime inside the home of the housekeeper’s friend. The person who planted and tampered with the evidence had the full intentions of getting the housekeeper’s friend convicted by eventually having law enforcement show up and using the manufactured murder weapon as evidence that the housekeeper’s friend committed the murder. This would eliminate the person actually responsible for the murder as a potential suspect because of the presence of such an incriminating piece of evidence that points towards the housekeeper’s friend as the guilty party instead of the person actually responsible. Clearly, the state of mind of the person who planted the evidence was that she committed the crimes willfully and maliciously.Defense Against Tampering With Evidence
Tampering with evidence is an obstruction of justice crime and is very serious. The crime is even more serious if it is committed by a law enforcement officer or another individual who has taken an oath to uphold the law.
Some of the defenses an expert attorney can use to defend such a case include:
- You made a reasonable mistake and you did not know that you were actually tampering with evidence, or
- You have been falsely accused of the crime because you did not actually do what you have been accused of
There are several other defenses your attorney may explore depending on the circumstances of your case. Calling your attorney immediately is critical if you want to avoid charges or if you need to mitigate the penalties for the crime of tampering with evidence.
If you believe that you are being investigated for tampering with evidence, do not talk about the details surrounding the event with anyone. Call Johnson Criminal Law Group immediately so we can begin putting together a seamless defense of the charges that may be coming.