Spoliation of Evidence Laws

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What Is Criminal Evidence?

Criminal evidence is verbal or physical evidence present for the reason of proving or disproving a crime occurred. The evidence may be presented by the prosecution or defendant. During the discovery phase of a criminal case, a defendant can obtain information about their case from the prosecution. In some criminal cases, someone may be accused of spoliation of evidence.

What Is Spoliation of Evidence?

The legal term “spoliation of evidence” refers to the intentional or neglectful hiding evidence relevant to a legal proceeding.

How Is Evidence “Hidden”?

“Hiding” evidence is often simply that, literally hiding evidence so that is cannot be found another person during a search. Other ways people “hide” evidence involve:

Does “Witness Tampering” Qualify as a Spoliation of Evidence?

Yes. Tampering with a witness, or witness tampering, is defined as attempt to or actually preventing or altering witness testimony. The “tampering” is done to stop a witness from testifying in a criminal or civil case.

Is Evanescent or Fleeting Evidence the Same as Hidden Evidence?

No. Evanescent evidence is considered at risk of disappearing or being destroyed, not actually hidden or destroyed yet. The evidence cannot be reconstructed later. This type of evidence is mainly connected with warrantless searches where police can take evidence without a warrant. This can only be done when the evidence such as drugs is at risk of being lost or destroyed if action is not immediately taken to recover it.

Will I Face Criminal Charges If I Am Accused of Spoliation of Evidence?

A person who is accused of hiding evidence can face criminal charges in many jurisdictions. The specific time depends on the jurisdiction’s criminal statute. Usually, the sentence includes fines and time in jail. Federal law does not have a law devoted to punishing those who hide evidence.

Do I Need to Talk to a Lawyer If I Am Accused of Hiding or Tampering with Evidence?

Yes. It is imperative that you discuss your case with a criminal lawyer if you are facing charges for tampering with or hiding evidence. The lawyer will discuss your options of fighting the criminal charges.

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Last Modified: 10-27-2015 03:10 PM PDT

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