Can I Go to Jail for Giving False Evidence?

Evidence is used in criminal and civil cases to help win your case or prove that the other person is guilty (depending upon what side of the law you are on). When false evidence is given or tampered with during a criminal trial, the consequences are severe. It doesn’t matter in what manner the evidence was fabricated in favor of the person presenting the false evidence, giving false evidence is an automatic felony. If you have been charged with giving false evidence, contact a Springfield criminal defense attorney immediately, your future depends on it. 

Continue reading to learn more about what the penalty is for tampering with evidence or giving false evidence and how, with the help of a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Springfield, your charges can be reduced and possibly even dismissed.

False Evidence: What is It?

Interfering with evidence by means of giving false evidence or information, tampering with evidence and destroying evidence is a serious crime. Evidence that is tampered with, destroyed, or given under false pretenses, can include, but is not limited to:

  • Physical Materials (clothing, books, papers, objects, etc.)
  • Digital Images
  • Video and Voice Recordings

In order for a false evidence charge to stand there is a significant amount of intent that must be proven. If you presented false evidence the state must prove the following three things:

  • You acted knowingly, willfully, intentionally and wrongfully
  • You manipulated and/or planted evidence
  • You acted with a specific intent to cause a specific result

The Penalty for False Evidence in Missouri

While what and how doesn’t matter for evidence tampering in Missouri, what the original crime was in which the evidence was tampered with may play a major role in the penalties a person will face if tried and convicted of tampering with evidence in Missouri. As previously mentioned, tampering or giving false evidence is an automatic felony, in the first or second degree. This means that a person could wind up with over $5000 in fines and 7 years in prison for first-degree tampering and fines up to $1000 with one year in jail for second-degree tampering. 

Proving False or Misleading Evidence

Let’s take a deeper look at knowingly tampering with, intently tampering with, and manipulating evidence for a future result as described by this article from Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Knowingly Tampers with, Destroys or Gives False Evidence

Giving false evidence or tampering/destroying evidence charges are founded on the fact of whether or not the person who tampered with the evidence did so knowingly, intentionally, or willfully. An example of a person not knowingly tampering with evidence would be someone taking a piece of clothing out of a vehicle they didn’t own (like having a car detailed). If that piece of clothing was evidence or had evidence on it, the car detailer likely has no idea. However, if the person owning the car removes and destroys the piece of clothing knowing that it has/is evidence, he or she knowingly is tampering with evidence. 

Intent To Tamper, Destroy or Give False Evidence

In addition to proving that the person knowingly tampered with evidence, the prosecutor must also prove that the individual intended to interfere with the evidence to disrupt an investigation or to provide false evidence during a court proceeding. So when a person accidentally alters with or destroys evidence that he or she knows to be incriminating, that is not deemed intentional. The prosecution must prove that the individual knowingly and intentionally destroyed or tampered with the evidence for a charge to stick. 

Tampering or Destruction of Evidence for a Future Proceeding

When a person deliberately destroys evidence for fear of investigation or before the crime has even been committed with the intent to hide said crime, that individual has tampered with evidence. Furthermore, if a person lays out “evidence” to pin the crime on another person, he or she is tampering with and giving false evidence. An example of this, as described by this article would be, A man who gets his wife drunk before leading her to the pool to kill her in a staged accident, but stops on the way to the diving board to wipe clean her lipstick from the whiskey glass, has tampered with evidence (in addition to committing murder)

Get Help From A Springfield Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with giving false evidence or tampering/destroying evidence, you need the help of a criminal defense lawyer in Springfield. Missouri Legal can help you build your case based on a strong defense strategy that will prove your innocence. Contact our legal team today for a complimentary consultation or to answer any questions you may have about giving false evidence or tampering with evidence in Missouri. 

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