Tampering With Physical Evidence: Understanding This Crime
The act of tampering with physical evidence is considered a class E felony in New York. If found guilty of this particular crime, you could end up going to jail or facing other harsh penalties. Therefore, to understand this crime, you must first understand what the New York Penal Law defines as “tampering with physical evidence.”
According to New York Penal Law section 215.40, you are guilty of tampering with physical evidence when;
- with the intent to have a particular piece of physical evidence used or introduced in an official or prospective official proceeding, you knowingly make, prepare or devise false physical evidence.
- with the intent to have a particular piece of physical evidence used or introduced in a proceeding, you produce or offer false physical evidence at the proceeding, knowing it is untrue.
- you conceal, alter or destroy physical evidence to prevent it from being used or produced after believing that the evidence in question is about to be produced or used in an official or prospective official proceeding.
According to the law, physical evidence is any physical substance like an object or document produced or used, or that can be produced or used as evidence in an official proceeding. Examples of physical evidence include bank records and things like plates or glasses with suspects’ fingerprints.
According to the law, an official proceeding is one led by or before a legal administrative, judicial, government agency, or legislative. The law continues to define such a proceeding as one where evidence can be properly received.
“Intent” is a term used when talking about a variety of crimes. According to New York Penal Law Section 15.05, an individual acts intentionally when their conscious objective is to carry out the act or cause the result in question. In the case of tampering with physical evidence, intent applies when you conceal, alter, destroy, prepare, make, devise, produce or offer physical evidence because your conscious objective is to do so.
Proving the Crime of “Tampering With Physical Evidence”
As is with any other crimes, the prosecution must prove some elements for you to be found guilty of tampering with physical evidence. Firstly, the prosecution needs to prove that you intended to tamper with evidence. Therefore, if you accidentally destroyed a piece of physical evidence, the prosecution might be unable to prove that you tampered with physical evidence. Secondly, the prosecution needs to prove that you acted knowing your actions will interfere with an investigation or an official proceeding.
Penalties and Defenses
If found guilty of tampering with physical evidence, you could face a determinate sentence of up to 1 year. Therefore, you must contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately after being accused or charged with tampering with physical evidence. A criminal defense attorney can create several defenses for you. One commonly used defense is a lack of intent. If you tampered with evidence while intoxicated, your attorney could also help you prove that you were unaware of what was happening.
Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney Today
To receive legal help, if you currently stand accused of tampering with physical evidence, contact Mark I. Cohen, an experienced NYC criminal defense attorney.