blog home Criminal Defense Common Defenses for Tampering or Intimidating Witnesses

Common Defenses for Tampering or Intimidating Witnesses

By Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on March 10, 2023

Witness tampering is a serious crime that’s frequently prosecuted as a felony in California. But police and prosecutors will often get upset and file witness tampering charges when they don’t have enough evidence to convict somebody or when their case is falling apart.

Witnesses and victims commonly misinterpret something somebody says and blow it out of proportion. And police and prosecutors are very aggressive when they think somebody might be interfering with an investigation.

There are several legal defenses that can be used to get witness tampering charges thrown out of court. An experienced defense attorney has effective strategies to protect your freedom.

What Is Witness Tampering in CA?

In California, witness tampering is legally defined as “knowingly and maliciously” using physical force, violence, or the threat of physical harm to prevent or dissuade a person from reporting a crime, testifying, or assisting police or prosecutors when they’re investigating a crime.

When prosecuted as a felony, witnessing tampering carries up to 4 years in state prison and fines up to $10,000. The following types of circumstances will determine the penalties that prosecutors will seek:

  • Part of a larger conspiracy
  • Someone is harmed
  • Use of a weapon
  • Violence
  • Physical force
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • A prior criminal record
  • The defendant was hired to intimidate a witness.

Legal Defense Against Tampering Charges

To convict a person of witness tampering, the prosecution must prove that the defendant acted knowingly and maliciously. In legal terms, this means that someone intentionally threatened a witness or a victim and intended to harm them.

Sometimes people overreact to words and actions that really aren’t threats, such as a joke or a careless comment. And sometimes people accuse an innocent person of a crime for personal reasons.

Perhaps you were simply telling somebody your side of the story, and they misconstrued your intentions. Or maybe an unscrupulous person is trying to use the legal system to punish you or get revenge. For example, it’s common for people to make illegitimate allegations when they are involved in a romantic breakup or during a custody battle.

There’s a high burden of proof on the prosecution to demonstrate that witness tampering actually occurred. Your attorney will use one or more of the following arguments to poke holes in the prosecution’s case:

  • No threats were made.
  • You have an alibi.
  • You are a victim of false accusations.
  • Your accuser has ulterior motives.
  • Witnesses against you aren’t trustworthy.
  • Physical and forensic evidence supports your case.
  • Witnesses confirm your version of events.
  • Your civil rights were violated.
  • You are the victim of police misconduct.
  • You are the victim of entrapment.

World-Class Defense Attorneys in Los Angeles

The nationally acclaimed defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have been featured on CNN, Fox News, ABC News, CNBC, and the BBC. Our team will find the best legal strategy to get the charges against you dismissed.

Call (213) 688-0460 to schedule a case review today.

Related Articles:

Posted in: Criminal Defense