What is The Consequence of Accidentally Tampering with Evidence in TX?
Evidence serves a crucial role in all criminal cases. This applies to the defense and prosecution since both sides utilize documents, statements, and other physical evidence to challenge false accusations or prove a defendant’s guilt. Because the right pieces of evidence can make or break a case, if an individual tampers with any evidence that could be presented in court or utilized in investigations, they face severe consequences, including incarceration, costly fines, and others.
Actions that might trigger a charge of evidence tampering can include:
- The removal, destruction, concealment, or modification of an item or object with the intent to hide the truth or make it unavailable for an investigation or legal proceeding.
- Utilizing, making, or presenting an item or object to intentionally deceive parties who are or may be included in the investigation or legal proceeding.
But if you can prove that you “accidentally” tampered with evidence, you should not have to be punished for it and face any consequences.
Accidental Tampering with Evidence is NOT a Crime
Many crimes require willful or intentional determination to commit. This means that evidence tampering requires specific intent, such that the defendant intended to cause a specific outcome when they tampered with the evidence.
As the law clearly states, when a defendant is prosecuted for evidence tampering, the prosecution must clearly demonstrate that the defendant had specific intent or intended to purposefully alter the results of an investigation or legal proceeding and any related or future legal proceeding or investigation when they allegedly tampered with any piece of evidence.
To illustrate, let’s say that you work for a company that you did not know is being investigated for money laundering. One of your tasks is to safely get rid (using a paper shredder) of documents that contain confidential information. You did not know that the latest stack of papers you were asked to shred had evidence of the company’s money laundering activities.
In this case, you are not guilty of tampering with evidence because you accidentally and not intentionally tampered with it. This also means that the circumstances surrounding your actions when you accidentally tampered with the incriminating documents shouldn’t trigger a charge against you or a criminal investigation.
On the other hand, the following are some of the most common examples of actions that can give rise to evidence tampering charges:
- Moving a corpse after a murder
- Throwing away a gun after a crime
- Swallowing or eating contraband as the police are approaching
- Disposing or attempting to throw away illegal drugs
- Attempting to destroy, erase, or alter files that can be used in a criminal investigation. This also applies to digital files, including those on a smartphone and social media.
Consult with a Seasoned Fort Worth TX Criminal Defense Attorney Now
Evidence tampering is a serious criminal charge, but one that you should not have to deal with if you are only guilty of “accidental” tampering. Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorney, Kyle Whitaker, can review your case to figure out the best defense strategy for your case. Please contact us online or call 817-332-7703 to schedule your consultation today.