Tampering with Evidence Defense in Texas
Lawyer for Evidence Tampering in Tarrant County
Anyone who is under investigation or who has been charged with evidence tampering in Texas or federal courts, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A conviction for tampering with evidence in Texas can be very serious, resulting in large fines and extensive prison time. No matter if you have been accused falsely or you made the mistake of attempting to cover up evidence against yourself or someone else, hiring a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in Texas and federal law can mean the difference between going on with your life or losing everything.
Making A Bad Situation Worse
Tampering with evidence can convert a simple misdemeanor into a major felony, turning a small fine case into serious punishment or prison time. Oftentimes people don’t even know that their actions can bring about this charge, and in many cases even seemingly innocent actions can bring about tampering with evidence charges under Texas law. Just some of the situations that can result in tampering with evidence charges are:
- Swallowing illegal substances (a little bit of marijuana) to avoid arrest
- Hiding a weapon used in the commission of a crime
- Shredding a subpoena
- Erasing computer files or discarding a device (cell phone) being sought as evidence
In order to keep a misdemeanor from turning into a felony and to protect yourself if your actions may result in tampering with evidence charges, it is incredibly important to have a seasoned criminal defense attorney on your side.
Never Go It Alone
If you are contacted by investigators or arrested on tampering with evidence charges, never submit to questioning or make any statements without a qualified defense attorney present. A defense attorney that is well versed in tampering with evidence law will be able to advise you of your rights, review your legal options, and help you mount the most effective legal defense to face the charges against you.
One of the biggest mistakes someone can make is attempting to maneuver through the legal system on their own. When your freedom is on the line and the charges are enough to affect the rest of your life, you will want an experienced professional on your side who will fight to have your charges dropped or reduced so you can put your case behind you. Tampering with evidence charges have the possibility of severely effecting your life and having your freedom taken from you, so do the smart thing and call in the professionals as soon as you can.
What Does the Law Say?
As discussed, evidence tampering can take many different forms, in fact the possibilities are probably endless. Some examples, such as burning a physical piece of evidence you know the police are looking for, are pretty clear cut. But there are situations where police can find a way to charge you with evidence tampering even if you weren’t involved with the original crime. So what does Texas law say about tampering with evidence?
Tampering with evidence under Texas Penal Code § 37.09 is defined as Fabricating Physical Evidence and states the Tampering with Evidence in Texas’ Punishment.
(1) alters, destroys, or conceals any record, document, or thing with intent to impair its verity, legibility, or availability as evidence in the investigation or official proceeding; or
(2) makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation or official proceeding.
(1) knowing that an offense has been committed, alters, destroys, or conceals any record, document, or thing with intent to impair its verity, legibility, or availability as evidence in any subsequent investigation of or official proceeding related to the offense; or
(2) observes a human corpse under circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that an offense had been committed, knows or reasonable should know that a law enforcement agency is not aware of the existence of or location of the corpse, and fails to report the existence of and location of the corpse to a law enforcement agency.
In the state of Texas, the charge of tampering with evidence is a Third Degree Felony that can result in up to $10,000 in monetary damages and anywhere from 2 to 10 years in a state prison. For example, suppose you are pulled over and are in possession of marijuana. Then you try to swallow the marijuana in order to avoid arrest. Suddenly your misdemeanor possession charge turns into a felony that can result in major prison time. This is just one example of how a minor offense can become major with the addition of evidence tampering charges.
The Texas criminal penalties are even more severe if the evidence in question is a human corpse. This can bring about Second Degree Felony charges that can land a defendant up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. Even if a defendant has not had any physical contact with the corpse and simply knows of a corpse and has not reported it, evidence tampering charges can be filed. As a Class A misdemeanor, the penalties for these charges can be up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in county jail.
The Proper Defense
Due to the seriousness of tampering with evidence charges, it is highly advisable to research a criminal defense attorney who has significant experience in defending clients from evidence tampering charges. An attorney who is seasoned with these types of cases will be able to review your case in fine detail and choose which defense strategy will give you the best chance to have your charges dropped or reduced.
With one of our criminal defense attorneys at your side during your tampering with evidence case, you can be assured that someone with the right experience is there for you in your time of need. You never want to brave the confusing world of the Texas court system on your own, and your attorney will be able to shield you from making mistakes that can lead to loss of freedom, fines, and a criminal record that will stay with you for the rest of your life. If you have been charged with evidence tampering or are under investigation, do yourself a favor and call our criminal defense attorneys as soon as possible.