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Understanding a tampering with evidence charge

If a New York resident tries to conceal or alter evidence, that may constitute tampering. Evidence is roughly defined as anything that may be useful to a criminal investigation such as a document or a physical object. To provide tampering, it is first necessary to show that an individual intended to do so. Accidentally destroying or losing evidence is not necessarily tampering.

Furthermore, a person must know that what he or she is doing will interfere with an investigation. It also must be shown that a person knew that there was an ongoing investigation when evidence was discarded or destroyed. Tampering may be either a misdemeanor or felony charge, and it can carry penalties such as 20 years in a state prison for a felony conviction. A federal charge could result in 20 years in a federal prison.

If a person is charged with a misdemeanor at the state level, a conviction could result in one year in jail. Those who are convicted of tampering with evidence may also pay a fine of up to $10,0000. Defenses to the charge may include a lack of intent or an inability to understand what was happening because an individual was intoxicated when the tampering took place.

Those who are facing a criminal charge such as tampering with evidence may face many penalties if convicted. An attorney may be able to create defenses to the charge in an effort to obtain a favorable outcome for a client. If successful, it may lead to an acquittal or a plea bargain for a defendant. A plea bargain may result in a lesser penalty in exchange for a guilty plea.

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