What are the Punishments for Tampering with Evidence?
Tampering with evidence is prohibited under state and federal law. Put simply, this crime entails the concealment, destruction, or modification of physical evidence with the intention of affecting a court proceeding or criminal investigation’s outcome. In Connecticut, tampering with evidence or fabricating it is considered a class D felony. The punishment for this crime is a fine not exceeding $5,000 and up to five years imprisonment.
What Exactly is Tampering with Evidence?
The act of tampering itself is a broad concept that basically covers various actions for concealing a crime. However, there are limitations to what could actually be charged as a criminal offense. For instance, the fact that an alleged offender was a willing participant in criminal activity does not automatically prove that they were aware of a possible investigation into the crime or that an item that they “tampered with” was considered evidence.
On the other hand, certain actions could trigger a charge of evidence tampering:
- Making, presenting, or utilizing an item in a way that would deceive anyone who is or might be engaged in a court proceeding or criminal investigation.
- Removing, destroying, altering, or concealing an item or object to hide the truth or make it unavailable for an investigation or proceeding.
How Can You Defend Yourself Against a Tampering with Evidence Charge?
Anyone accused of any type of criminal offense is presumed innocent until proven guilty and has the legal right to present a defense and a fast trial. For someone to be found guilty of the charge against them, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intended and planned to commit the crime. With a charge of tampering of evidence, the following are common defenses that might apply to your case:
- Lack of Intent – Basically, the prosecution should prove that you intended to tamper with the evidence and planned to accomplish the final outcome. This means that anyone who committed an involuntary action, didn’t plan the achieved outcome or consequence, or had a mistaken belief could potentially mount the lack of intent defense.
- Mistake of Fact – Similar to the lack of intent defense, this defense could be raised to maintain that you erroneously believed that the evidence you allegedly tampered with was not needed or even relevant to a legal investigation or proceeding.
- Abandonment – You could argue that the evidence you supposedly tampered with or destroyed, and you merely discarded or abandoned it because you no longer needed or wanted it.
- Intoxication – The intoxication defense, whether involuntary or voluntary, relies heavily on the legal theory that an intoxicated individual couldn’t possibly satisfy the elements of the charge against them since they couldn’t have known what they were doing at that time.
Talk to a Skilled Manchester Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Accused of tampering with evidence in Connecticut? Do not hesitate to get in touch with our skilled Manchester criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk having a criminal record, imprisonment, costly fines, and all the other collateral consequences that come with being a convicted felon.