Witness Tampering Crimes
Michigan Witness Tampering Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are ever charged with witness tampering in Michigan, you could consult with a criminal defense lawyer. It is important that you properly gauge your legal options and rights and how to avoid getting convicted and handed a lengthy prison sentence. Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC has substantial experience going to bat for people who are charged with crimes, including serious felonies. We will be there for you. To get started, get in touch with Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC, for a free consultation by calling (231) 577-1580 or contacting us online.
Criminal cases often hinge on the testimony of witnesses. If you’re involved in a criminal case, there may be a time where perhaps you might think a witness in your case misunderstood, misremembers, or is misinformed, and that if you could speak with the witness to help clarify or explain, you could help the situation. It is only natural to want to advocate for yourself. Unfortunately, doing so outside of court or legal channels can lead to additional charges against you.
The state of Michigan prohibits any effort to influence a witness. This includes bribery, threatening, intimidation, interference, and retaliation. If you have been charged with witness tampering, contact an experienced attorney immediately to discuss your possible defenses.
What Is Witness Tampering?
Under Michigan law, it is a felony to:
- bribe by giving or offering to give something of value to, or
- intimidate or threaten, or
- interfere or attempt to interfere, impede, or prevent, or
- attempt, threaten, or retaliate against
an individual who:
- is or may be providing testimony, evidence, or information
- during or for use at any official (legal) proceeding
- occurring now or possibly occurring in the future
in an attempt to:
- discourage the individual from testifying at a proceeding or providing evidence for a proceeding, or
- influence the individual’s testimony, or
- persuade or entice the individual to alter testimony.
Penalties For Witness Tampering
Because the court considers witness tampering a threat to the very heart of the court system, conviction for a charge of witness tampering carries serious consequences. Often the sentence will be served consecutively to any time you receive for convictions on other charges, meaning it will add time to your prison term.
The penalties increase according to the circumstances. For example:
- A simple charge of felony witness tampering carries:
- a prison term up to four years and
- a fine up to $5000
- A charge of witness tampering in criminal cases carrying lengthier prison terms (greater than ten years, for example) results in:
- a prison term up to ten years and
- a fine up to $20,000
- A charge of witness tampering involving one or more of:
- committing or attempting to commit a crime
- threatening to kill or injure a person
- threatening to damage property
carries penalties of:
- up to fifteen years in prison and
- a fine up to $2500
Defenses To Witness Tampering Charges
Michigan law recognizes several exceptions and defenses to the various subsets of witness tampering crimes. Because each crime carries specific elements or items that the prosecution must individually prove, a skilled defense attorney can help you attack each element. To avoid a conviction on these charges, your attorney can also determine if the facts of your case fall under any exceptions to the laws.
For example, some exceptions to the charges for bribery, intimidation, or threat include:
- The charges arise from the lawful conduct of an attorney, such as advising a client
- The charges arise from lawfully permitted communications
- The defendant only acted lawfully and with the sole intention of encouraging or causing the witness to testify truthfully
Defending against a charge of witness tampering is complicated and requires an aggressive attorney well-versed in this area of law.
What If I Am Charged With Witness Tampering?
Charges of witness tampering often carry an immediate presumption of guilt, making false accusations a powerful weapon against a defendant. You must retain an attorney who does not flinch at the negative assumptions and who can and will emphatically and thoroughly attack the motives and alleged facts behind the charges. Our extensive experience and determined approach to defending our clients can help you minimize the damage and consequences of witness tampering charges. If you are or may be charged with a witness tampering crime, please call The Law Offices of Rami R. Gurumurthy at (231) 577-1580 today to schedule your free consultation.