Witness Tampering Defense From Proven Lawyers
Domestic violence charges travel in packs.
Prosecutors, driven by a motivation to get domestic violence convictions, will go to great lengths to gain leverage over the accused. This includes “throwing the book” at clients who already face domestic violence charges. Dissuading a witness is one of the most common add-on charges and requires a strong defense to limit exposure to fines, jail time, and other criminal consequences.
At Premier Domestic Violence Law Group, in San Diego, we understand the motivations of prosecutors who want to use the leverage of multiple charges to get a conviction. We are led by Mark Deniz, a former criminal prosecutor who has handled domestic violence offenses from both sides of the criminal justice system.
Dissuading A Witness And Domestic Violence
Dissuading a witness (Penal Code 136.1) is better known as witness tampering. In the context of a domestic dispute, something as simple as saying “Honey, you know I didn’t mean to hurt you” can result in a prosecutor bringing dissuading a witness charges. Anything that can be construed as attempting to prevent testimony, the filing of a police report, cooperation with law enforcement, or providing information can be considered dissuading a witness.
It is difficult for prosecutors to prove these beyond a reasonable doubt. Remember, these add-on charges are about leverage. You can get leverage of your own by putting a proven domestic violence defense lawyer on your side.
Intimidating a victim or a witness. The image many get is some mobster telling someone to not show up to court. Unfortunately, people find themselves being charged with this crime due to non-malicious circumstances. This charge can be issued as a Felony, with up to three years in prison, or it can also be charged as a misdemeanor; further, it can end up being a rejected/dismissed case. This charge is very fact-specific. When you are facing these charges, you want an experienced law firm with a track record of success advocating for you.
Definition and Elements of Penal Code 136.1
Discouraging a victim or witness from reporting a crime or from testifying about a crime is itself a serious criminal offense under Penal Code 136.1.
In order to prove an allegation of Intimidating a Witness or Victim, a prosecutor must be able to establish the following elements:
- That a person knowingly and maliciously
- Prevented or dissuaded, or attempted to prevent or dissuade
- A victim or witness from
- Reporting a crime to authorities
- Assisting in the prosecution of a crime
- OR assisting in the arrest process
- Appearing at or testifying during a legal proceeding
It does not matter if the defendant was successful in preventing or discouraging the victim or witness, the attempt to intimidate the victim or witness is enough for the defendant to be held criminally liable under Penal Code 136.1.
Examples of discouraging a victim or dissuading a witness
Several years ago, a common scenario of dissuading a victim was when someone hung up a phone when they thought their significant other was calling the police. They would pull the phone cord out of the wall. Today the more common situation is when someone takes someone’s smartphone from another person or hangs up the phone.
Another example is when a parent calls their child’s significant other and talks to them about dropping a case. These scenarios are very common and someone can find themselves facing these charges. When you are facing these charges, you want an experienced law firm with a track record of success advocating for you. Contact Premier Domestic Violence Law Group at 619-752-3702.
Defenses to Intimidating a Witness or Victim Charges
- You did not do it. The best defense is that the allegations are baseless and did not happen.
- You thought the person was talking to their friend and not police, so when you hung up the phone it was to try to keep talking to your significant other.
- Taking their phone was accidental. “I did not know it was in the backpack”, etc.
Plus many others. You want to obtain a consultation to see if you have a defense to PC 136.1 dissuading a witness.
If you or someone you know has been accused of Intimidating a Victim or Witness, it is critical that you consult with an experienced Defense Attorney right away. When you are facing these charges, you want an experienced law firm with a track record of success advocating for you. You want a former prosecutor on your side. Our firm has maintained important relationships with law enforcement and prosecutors and is respected throughout the court system.