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The Consequences of Tampering with Evidence: Navigating Legal Repercussions

A snapshot of a client consulting with a lawyer, discussing the implications of tampering with evidence.

Tampering with evidence is a serious offense in Florida, often carrying harsh penalties and lasting consequences.Whether you’re accused of destroying, altering, or concealing evidence in a criminal investigation, you need an experienced defense team on your side.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A.: Navigating Complex Evidence Tampering Cases

We understand the complexities of these cases, which often hinge on intent, circumstantial evidence, and legal nuances.With our extensive background in criminal law and over 100 years of combined experience, we’ll fight tirelessly to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome.

What Is Evidence Tampering in Florida?

The law is broad, covering actions like:

  • Destroying or altering physical evidence
  • Hiding documents or records
  • Influencing witnesses
  • Fabricating evidence
  • Intentionally misleading law enforcement

The Consequences Are Severe

Tampering with evidence charges can lead to:

  • Felony convictions
  • Prison sentences
  • Significant fines
  • Difficulty securing employment or housing

Meltzer & Bell: A Proven Track Record in Criminal Defense

We’ll carefully analyze the evidence against you, challenge the prosecutor’s claims, and expose any weaknesses in their case.

Our team will:

  • Investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged tampering
  • Assess the validity and admissibility of evidence
  • Determine if your actions were intentional or if there are mitigating factors
  • Explore all potential defenses, from lack of intent to violations of your rights

Don’t Face These Charges Alone – Let Us Fight For You

If you’re under investigation or have been charged with tampering with evidence, contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A.immediately. A strong defense starts now.

Key Takeaways

  • Evidence tampering in Florida is defined as the alteration, destruction, concealment, or removal of physical evidence with intent to impair its use in an official proceeding and is considered a serious offense that can result in a third-degree felony charge.
  • Penalties for evidence tampering in Florida include fines up to $5,000, up to 5 years in prison, or probation, and the severity of punishment remains serious regardless of the associated underlying crime.
  • Defendants accused of evidence tampering can employ several defense strategies, such as ‘mistake of fact’ or duress to challenge allegations; however, securing experienced legal counsel is crucial for navigating potential charges and trials.

Understanding the Offense: What Constitutes Evidence Tampering

A person at an accident scene, calling the police and describing the details, serves as a stark reminder of the consequences of evidence tampering.

In the eyes of Florida law, evidence tampering is a serious offense. It is defined as knowingly tampering or fabricating physical evidence, which includes altering, destroying, concealing, or removing it with the intent to impair its use in an official proceeding. The act of swallowing or discarding evidence during a police pursuit, for instance, is recognized as evidence tampering by Florida courts.

A notable case that showcased the practical application of evidence tampering laws in Florida was the case involving Kervin Moreno. Charged with tampering or fabricating physical evidence, this case serves as a stark reminder of the severity of such crimes in the state.

The Legal Boundaries: Florida Statutes on Evidence Tampering

Florida Statute Section 918.13 clearly outlines what constitutes evidence tampering. According to the statute, evidence tampering involves altering, destroying, or concealing evidence with the intent to impair its use in a known investigation or criminal proceeding.

In Florida, an individual commits tampering with evidence when they knowingly:

  • conceal, alter, or destroy evidence
  • with the purpose of impairing its integrity or availability
  • for use in an existing or potential investigation or proceeding.

Understanding these legal boundaries is crucial as it can potentially protect a person from unintentionally crossing the line into criminal territory.

Grasping the Severity: Degrees of Felonies for Tampering Charges

In Florida, evidence tampering is not considered a minor offense; rather, it is classified as a third-degree felony. This classification requires a specific intent to destroy or conceal evidence and carries potential penalties including fines up to $5,000 and 5 years in prison or probation.

Under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code, the severity ranking for evidence tampering is categorized as a Level 3 offense. This third-degree felony classification holds regardless of the severity of the associated underlying crime, be it a misdemeanor or a felony charge.

However, it is important to note that since October 1, 2022, the legal repercussions for tampering with evidence have increased if the tampering is related to a case involving a capital felony.

Penalties at Stake: Sentencing for Evidence Tampering Convictions

A snapshot of sentencing for evidence tampering convictions

A conviction for evidence tampering in Florida carries significant penalties. Under the state’s law, evidence tampering is a third-degree felony. The penalties can be severe, including up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and five years of probation.

Specific acts of evidence tampering, such as obstructing someone from contacting law enforcement by destroying their phone, are also classified as a third-degree felony, attracting similar penalties.

Understanding these penalties is essential as it underscores the serious consequences of tampering with evidence and highlights the importance of legal representation when facing such charges.

Defense Strategies: How to Challenge Evidence Tampering Allegations

A snapshot of a lawyer discussing possible defense strategies for evidence tampering

When facing allegations of evidence tampering, it’s crucial to understand the defense strategies that can be employed. To secure a tampering conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was aware of a pending trial, investigation, or proceeding and intentionally acted to impair the evidence’s integrity or availability.

One of the strategies that defendants can assert is a ‘mistake of fact’ defense. This strategy involves claiming that they did not know the evidence was relevant or that they acted without knowledge of any investigation or proceeding. Another strategy is claiming duress, where defendants argue they were coerced into tampering with evidence under threat, which questions their intent. By presenting these strategies, defendants aim to establish reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors.

A defense attorney can also challenge the prosecution’s case by arguing that evidence was illegally obtained, questioning the proof of intent, or exposing conflicts or lack of evidence.

Navigating Complex Cases: Witness Tampering and Related Offenses

Tampering with a witness in Florida is a complex offense that can result in a range of felony charges. These charges can range from a third-degree felony to potentially a life felony, contingent upon the details of the involved legal proceeding.

Retaliating against a witness is classified as a third-degree felony and can escalate to a second-degree felony if the retaliation causes personal injury. Furthermore, tampering with an electronic monitoring device, such as a GPS or CAM, is treated as a third-degree felony with potential consequences of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 in Florida.

Seeking Legal Guidance: The Role of an Evidence Attorney

Upon being arrested for evidence tampering, it is crucial to start building a defense immediately and hire an experienced attorney who specializes in tampering with evidence. For individuals charged with evidence tampering, contacting a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible is essential in order to discuss available options and strategic defense.

Early representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney can be a decisive factor in persuading the duly constituted prosecuting authority, such as a grand jury, a law enforcement agency, or a legislative committee, not to initiate such proceeding against a law enforcement officer accused of evidence tampering during a pending investigation.

Protecting Your Rights: Preparing for a Criminal Trial Involving Tampered Evidence

A snapshot of a lawyer of preparing for a criminal trial involving tampered evidence

Preparing for a criminal trial involving tampered evidence is a task that must be taken with utmost seriousness, especially during an ongoing criminal investigation. In such a trial, it is crucial for the defense to ensure that all evidence presented is in sealed packaging to prevent further tampering.

Furthermore, verifying that the chain of custody is intact is an essential step to confirm that no unauthorized alterations have been made to the evidence since its collection.


In conclusion, understanding the implications of evidence tampering, the legal boundaries, the penalties involved, and the potential defenses is crucial. Not only does this knowledge provide a clearer picture of the severity of the offense, but it also highlights the importance of seeking the guidance of an experienced evidence attorney when faced with such charges.

Facing charges of evidence tampering can be a daunting experience, but with the right knowledge and legal guidance, it is possible to navigate the complex legal landscape and protect your rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered evidence tampering in Florida?

In Florida, evidence tampering is defined as knowingly altering, destroying, concealing, or removing physical evidence with the intent to impair its use in an official proceeding. These actions constitute evidence tampering in the state.

How severe is the crime of evidence tampering in Florida?

In Florida, evidence tampering is considered a third-degree felony, with penalties that can include fines up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison or probation. It is a serious offense with significant consequences.

What defense strategies can be employed when facing evidence tampering allegations?

When facing evidence tampering allegations, defense strategies may involve challenging the prosecution’s case, asserting a ‘mistake of fact’ defense, or claiming duress. These tactics can help to cast doubt on the validity of the allegations and potentially lead to a favorable outcome.

What is the role of an evidence attorney in cases of evidence tampering?

In cases of evidence tampering, an evidence attorney plays a crucial role in building a strong defense, discussing options, and negotiating with the prosecution to protect the rights of the defendant.

How should one prepare for a criminal trial involving tampered evidence?

To prepare for a criminal trial involving tampered evidence, ensure that all evidence presented is in sealed packaging to prevent further tampering and to verify that the chain of custody is intact. This will help to maintain the integrity of the evidence presented in court.

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