Harassing, intimidating, or tampering with a witness is a serious offense in Florida that prosecutors are quick to pursue. The severity of the offense and the penalties you face depend on the nature of the crime for which the witness was testifying, but regardless, imprisonment is likely if you are convicted.
If you suspect you are under investigation for harassing or intimidating a witness or if you have already been charged, call Goldman Wetzel in St. Petersburg and speak to our defense team about your case: 727-828-3900.
What constitutes harassing or intimidating a witness?
Florida Statute § 914.22 states that a person commits the crime of tampering with a witness, victim, or informant when s/he “knowingly uses intimidation or physical force, or threatens another person, or attempts to do so, or engages in misleading conduct toward another person, or offers [financial] benefit or gain to another person, with intent to cause or induce any person” to do one of the following:
- Withhold his/her testimony or evidence;
- “Alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal evidence with the intent to impair the integrity or availability” of it;
- “Evade legal process summoning for the person to appear as a witness”;
- Fail to appear at an official proceeding that the court summoned him/her to;
- Delay or prevent the witness from communicating important case information to law enforcement; or
- Testify untruthfully.
In other words, if you threaten, intimidate, bribe, harass, or coerce a witness to lie, destroy evidence, or not cooperate with police, you have tampered with a witness.
What are the penalties for tampering with a witness in Florida?
The severity of the charges you might face for tampering with a witness depends on the severity of the initial proceeding or investigation that the witness was party to.
- If the witness was party to an investigation or proceeding for the prosecution of a misdemeanor, tampering with the witness is a third-degree felony. You face up to five years’ imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
- If the proceeding was for a third-degree felony, you will be charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
- Tampering with a witness party to a second-degree felony case is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
- Tampering with a witness in a first-degree felony case is a first-degree felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine and life in prison.
Because the penalties are so severe, it is critical to have our attorneys begin working on your defense straightaway. Our attorneys work closely together for each client they represent, combining their skills and resources to help clients successfully navigate the criminal justice system. Learn more about our attorneys and how we can help.
Talk to a defense lawyer in St. Petersburg to protect your rights.
If you have been charged with tampering with a witness, call Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900 and talk to our defense lawyers, free of charge.