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What Is The Difference Between Witness Tampering And Intimidating A Witness In New York State?

Tampering with a witness and intimidating a witness in New York State are two distinctive crimes which carries a different level of sentencing. Because of their similarities, defendants, inexperienced defense attorneys and prosecutors throughout New York often confuse the difference between these two crimes.

When one is charged with either witness tampering (New York Penal Code Sections 215.10, 215.11, 215.12 or 215.13) or intimidating a victim or witness (New York Penal Code Sections (215.15, 215.16 or 215.17), one should seek a criminal defense attorney who is experience within this area of the New York Penal Code.

Witness Tampering v. Intimidating a Witness

According to the New York State Penal Code, tampering with a witness occurs when a person (usually the defendant) knows that a person is or is about to be called as a witness in an action or proceeding and wrongfully induces or attempts to induce (usually through monetary gains) such person to absent himself from appearing or testifying from grand jury presentation, hearing or trial.

Tampering with a witness in fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail. Any threats or acts of physical injury will cause the prosecutor to raise the charges to a felony, which may carry a sentence of 25 years in state prison.

Intimidating a Victim or Witness, on the other hand, occurs when a person (usually the defendant), knows that another individual possesses information relating to a criminal transaction and, other than in the course of the criminal transaction wrongfully compels or attempts to compel such other individual from communicating that information to the police, a grand jury, prosecutor or court by instilling a fear of physical injury or actually damaging property of that person.

Intimidating a victim or witness, is a class E felony, which carries a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. If there was actual physical violence inflicted upon the victim or witness, then charges may be raised to a more serious felony.

The differences between these two crimes are distinct and it is crucial for the defendant charged with either one to retain an attorney who is experienced within this field to tailor a defense to your needs.

At Joseph Potashnik & Associates PLLC, we have the most experienced criminal trial attorneys on both Federal and New York State levels. If you are currently being investigated or arrested for tampering with a witness or intimidating a witness, call our office at (212) 577-6677 to get professional legal advice.