Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence
When a person tampers with or fabricates evidence involved in a criminal investigation, the actions can impact the ability of prosecutors or other government officials to hold alleged offenders accountable. Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence is a felony offense in Florida.
Alleged Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence is a type of obstruction of justice, and prosecutors and judges take very unfavorable views of these kinds of alleged crimes. It is not uncommon, however, for people to be charged with this alleged offense when there is no evidence to support the accusations.
Attorney for Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence in St. Petersburg, FL
St. Petersburg criminal defense lawyers Melinda Morris and Seth Shapiro aggressively defend alleged offenders throughout Manatee County, Pasco County, Sarasota County, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County. The Morris Law Firm can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Florida Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence Information Center
- When can a person be charged with Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence?
- Are there any defenses against these charges?
- Where can I find more information about Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence in St. Petersburg?
Florida Statute § 918.13 makes it a third-degree felony for any person, knowing that a criminal trial or proceeding or an investigation by a duly constituted prosecuting authority, law enforcement agency, grand jury or legislative committee of this state is pending or is about to be instituted, to do either of the following:
- Alter, destroy, conceal, or remove any record, document, or thing with the purpose to impair its verity or availability in such proceeding or investigation; or
- Make, present, or use any record, document, or thing, knowing it to be false.
As a third-degree felony, a conviction for tampering with or fabricating physical evidence is punishable as follows:
- Up to five years in prison; and/or
- Fine of up to $5,000.
In order to convict an alleged offender of this crime, the state will need to prove that person not only knew that a criminal trial or proceeding or an investigation was pending or about to be instituted, but also that that the evidence allegedly tampered with was done with the purpose of hindering an investigation or evidence was fabricated with the knowledge it was false. Common defenses against these types of criminal charges often focus on calling the alleged offender’s intent and knowledge into question, as it can be extremely difficult for prosecutors to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
Florida Standard Jury Instructions | Chapter 21: Obstruction of Justice — Visit this section of the Florida Supreme Court website to find standard jury instructions for obstruction of justice cases. Chapter 21.8 deals with Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence charges and lays out the elements a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt as well as lesser included offenses. It is important to keep in mind that jury instructions typically must be modified according to the specific aspects of criminal cases, so standard jury instructions are rarely used verbatim.
Boice v. State, 560 So. 2d 1383 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990) — On February 19, 1988, Donald Andrew Boice stopped his car at an intersection in Florida and purchased a single rock of cocaine in a small bag from an undercover police officer, immediately after which his car was surrounded by uniformed officers in marked police cars. Boice threw the bag of cocaine out the window of his car, the bag was later retrieved by an officer, and Boice was ultimately convicted of purchase of cocaine and tampering with evidence. On May 11, 1990, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the conviction and sentence for the purchase of cocaine, but reversed the conviction and sentence for tampering with evidence. The Court concluded that Boice’s “act of tossing the small bag of cocaine away from his person while in the presence of the arresting officers at the scene of the purchase does not rise to the level of conduct which constitutes a concealment or removal of something for the purpose of impairing its availability for the criminal trial.”
Morris Law Firm, P.A. | St. Petersburg Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence Lawyer
If you were arrested in the Tampa Bay area for allegedly Tampering With or Fabricating Physical Evidence in a criminal case, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents people accused of obstruction of justice offenses throughout Pinellas County including Clearwater, Dunedin, Pinellas Park, Largo, and other nearby communities.
Melinda Morris is a criminal defense attorney in St. Petersburg who knows the most effective ways to challenge these criminal charges because of her prior experience as a former felony prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County. Call (727) 388-4736 or fill out an online contact form today to set up a free initial consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions.