Being charged with any crime is serious, but an added charge of “Tampering with Evidence” in Ohio can make matters much worse. A person convicted of tampering with evidence can face up to 3 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000, and this is in addition to any other charges you could be facing.
To be convicted of tampering with evidence in Ohio, the prosecutor must provide that you knowingly altered, concealed, falsified, or destroyed any tangible record, document, or object with the intent to interfere with an investigation or in anticipation of an investigation. If you are charged with tampering with evidence, it is crucial that you secure an experienced Ohio defense attorney as soon as possible to help you fight the charges. To obtain a conviction for evidence tampering, the prosecutor must provide three things:
Evidence of a Crime
You can’t be charged with tampering with evidence in Ohio if the evidence would not have any impact on the initial charge. If the object or document in question was not actually considered to be evidence, even if you thought it was, then a skilled defense attorney may be able to have the charge dropped.
Knowledge of the Crime
The prosecutor must also prove that the item tampered with was something you knew would be evidence in an ongoing or future investigation. For example, if documents were shredded that could have been used as evidence, but the person shredding them did not know that the documents could have been evidence, then the charge fails to have merit.
The prosecution is also required to prove intent. A person can knowingly destroy evidence that is part of an investigation without realizing that they are in fact interfering with that investigation. It could be as simple as washing clothes that the person knew were at a crime scene, so long as there was no intent to conceal or destroy the evidence needed for the investigation. The prosecution must be able to prove that a person’s actions were done with the intent to interfere with an investigation.
You can be charged with tampering with evidence in Ohio even if an investigation has not yet been started. If you have done something to hide evidence, out of fear of an impending investigation, or even before a crime has been committed, then the charge can be used against you. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows how to combat tampering with evidence charges may help you win your case.
If you are being charged with tampering with evidence or other criminal charges, you need an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney to help you navigate the criminal process. For more information and a free consultation, please contact Jeff Hastings, experienced Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney.