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Tampering with a Witness in Florida

If accused of Tampering with a Witness, you need to know the:

Definition of Tampering with a Witness

Under Florida Statute 914.22(1), the crime of Tampering with a Witness, Victim, or Informant occurs when a person:

  1. Knowingly uses intimidation or physical force, or threatens another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, or offers pecuniary benefit or gain to another person;
  2. With the intent to cause or induce any person to:
    • Withhold testimony, records, documents, or other evidence, from an official investigation or proceeding;
    • Alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal evidence with the intent to impair its integrity or availability for use in an official investigation or proceeding;
    • Evade a subpoena to appear or to produce tangible evidence in an official investigation or proceeding;
    • Be absent from an official proceeding to which such person has been subpoenaed;
    • Hinder, delay, or prevent the communication of information relating to a crime or violation of probation, parole, or release, to a law enforcement officer or judge; or
    • Testify untruthfully in an official investigation or proceeding

Penalties for Tampering with a Witness

Tampering with a Witness is a derivative crime, as the penalties are based upon the underlying crime being investigated. [1]

As such, the penalties are determined by whether the affected official event involved the investigation or prosecution of a:

Tampering with a Witness in a Misdemeanor Investigation or Proceeding

The crime of Tampering with a Witness in a Misdemeanor Investigation or Proceeding is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Tampering with a Witness in a Misdemeanor Investigation or Proceeding, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Tampering with a Witness in a Third Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding

The crime of Tampering with a Witness in a Third Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Tampering with a Witness in a Third Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to fifteen (15) years in prison.
  • Up to fifteen (15) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Tampering with a Witness in a Second Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding

The crime of Tampering with a Witness in a Second Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding is classified as a Second Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Tampering with a Witness in a Second Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to thirty (30) years in prison.
  • Up to thirty (30) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Tampering with a Witness in a First Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding

The crime of Tampering with a Witness in a First Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding is classified as a First Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Tampering with a Witness in a First Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to thirty (30) years in prison.
  • Up to thirty (30) years of probation.
  • Up to $10,000 in fines.

Tampering with a Witness in a Capital or Life Felony Investigation or Proceeding

The crime of Tampering with a Witness in a First Degree Felony Investigation or Proceeding is classified as a Life Felony and is assigned a Level 4 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Tampering with a Witness in a Capital or Life Felony Investigation or Proceeding, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Life imprisonment.
  • Any term of years in prison not exceeding life imprisonment.
  • Up to life on probation.
  • Up to $15,000 in fines.

Defenses to Tampering with a Witness

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, specific defenses to the crime of Tampering with a Witness are:

Unofficial Investigation or Proceeding

A person does not commit the crime of Tampering with a Witness if they retaliate against a person involved in an unofficial investigation or proceeding, such as a disciplinary investigation being conducted by a school. [2]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Tampering with a Witness in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.

References

  1. Pickett v. State, 109 So. 3d 841, 844 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013)
  2. JLR v. State, 756 So. 2d 1088 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000)