New York Tampering With A Witness
Tampering with a witness is a serious crime in New York that carries significant penalties. This article will provide an overview of witness tampering laws in New York, typical scenarios, defenses, and the potential consequences of a conviction.
- Bribing or convincing a witness not to testify or to leave town before a trial
- Threatening harm to a witness or their family if they testify
- Physically assaulting or injuring a witness to intimidate them
- Spreading false information to discredit a witness’s anticipated testimony
- Withholding evidence from a witness to impact their testimony
Often these actions are taken to disrupt legal proceedings and prevent crucial witness testimony that could implicate the defendant or others in criminal activity.
There are several legal defenses that an attorney may use to fight New York witness tampering charges:
- Lack of intent – The defendant did not know the victim was a witness or did not intend to impact their testimony.
- Misidentification – The defendant was mistakenly identified and did not commit the alleged acts.
- Duress – The defendant only contacted the witness under threat of harm by a third party.
- False accusations – The witness is fabricating allegations against the defendant for ulterior motives.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can evaluate the prosecution’s evidence and determine if any of these defenses apply.
Consequences of a Conviction
- Felony record – Many degrees of witness tampering are felonies, meaning a permanent criminal record.
- Immigration issues – Non-citizens charged with felonies can face deportation.
- Employment issues – Felony convictions can prevent people from getting certain professional licenses and jobs.
- Sentencing enhancements – Harsher sentences if convicted of another crime later.
- Civil lawsuits – Victims can sue for damages in civil court.
In addition, witness tampering convictions can negatively impact the defendant’s underlying criminal case if they are facing other charges. Judges tend to impose harsher sentences when tampering is involved.