Tampering with Evidence in Florida

Tampering with Evidence is committed when a person with knowledge of an impending criminal investigation destroys evidence in order to impair its availability for use in the investigation.

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

Definition of Tampering with Evidence

Under Florida Statute 918.13, the crime of Tampering with Evidence is committed when a person, knowing that a criminal trial, proceeding, or law enforcement investigation is pending or instituted, either:

  1. Alters, destroys, conceals, or removes any record, document, or thing with the purpose to impair its verity or availability in such trial, proceeding or investigation; or
  2. Creates, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing, knowing it to be false.

Penalties for Tampering with Evidence

The crime of Tampering with Evidence is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 3 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Tampering with Evidence, 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.

Defenses to Tampering with Evidence

In addition to the pretrial defenses and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, common defenses to the crime of Tampering with Evidence include:

Removing from Body

Discarding evidence from one's person, such as throwing drugs on the ground when police are approaching, does not constitute the crime of Tampering with Evidence.

Rather, to constitute Tampering with Evidence, some action must be taken that is designed to actually alter or destroy the evidence rather than just remove it from one's person. [1]

Unofficial Investigation or Proceeding

A person does not commit the crime of Tampering with Evidence if they tamper with evidence used 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 Evidence in Central Florida or the Greater Orlando area, contact Criminal Defense Lawyer 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. Costanzo v. State, 152 So. 3d 737, 738 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)
  2. JLR v. State, 756 So. 2d 1088 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000)