Tampering with a Witness

California law provides for several different crimes related to tampering with a witness. The crime of witness tampering can be committed by preventing or dissuading a witness from reporting the crime or by intimidating a witness from attending court or giving testimony.

Under Section 136.1, the crime of intimidating a witness or victim requires proof of the following elements:

  • Knowingly and maliciously prevents or dissuades any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.
  • Knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial, proceeding, or inquiry authorized by law.

For purposes of California’s statute prohibiting intimidating a witness, “evidence that the defendant was a family member who interceded in an effort to protect the witness or victim shall create a presumption that the act was without malice.”

Any person who tampers with or intimidates a witness is can be charged with a public offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison.

Attorney for Witness Tampering in Ventura, CA

If you are accused of tampering with or intimidating a witness, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Jay Leiderman Law.

Contact us for a consultation to discuss the charges pending against you, the typical punishments imposed for the offense, and the most effective ways to fight the charges for an outright dismissal.

Call (805) 654-0200 today.

Preventing or Dissuading a Witness or Victim in California

Any person who attempts to prevent or dissuade another person who has been the victim of a crime or who is witness to a crime from doing any of the following is guilty of a public offense and shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year or in the state prison:

  1. Making any report of that victimization to any peace officer or state or local law enforcement officer or probation or parole or correctional officer or prosecuting agency or to any judge.
  2. Causing a complaint, indictment, information, probation or parole violation to be sought and prosecuted, and assisting in the prosecution thereof.
  3. Arresting or causing or seeking the arrest of any person in connection with that victimization.

When the act is committed knowingly and maliciously under any one or more of the following circumstances, the crime is charge as a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years under any of the following circumstances:

  • Where the act is accompanied by force or by an express or implied threat of force or violence, upon a witness or victim or any third person or the property of any victim, witness, or any third person.
  • Where the act is in furtherance of a conspiracy.
  • Where the act is committed by any person who has been convicted of any violation of this section, any predecessor law hereto or any federal statute or statute of any other state which, if the act prosecuted was committed in this state, would be a violation of this section.
  • Where the act is committed by any person for pecuniary gain or for any other consideration acting upon the request of any other person. All parties to such a transaction are guilty of a felony.

The crime is committed regardless of the success or failure of the attempt. Additionally, the fact that no person was injured physically, or in fact intimidated, is not a defense against any prosecution under this section.

When great bodily injury does occur, the court can still impose the enhancement for great bodily injury where the injury inflicted is significant or substantial.

The use of force during the commission of any offense is considered a circumstance in aggravation of the crime.