Tampering With a Witness in the First Degree
Make no mistake. Have no misgivings. Other than the most violent crimes codified in New York Penal Law 70.02, First Degree Tampering with a Witness is as serious a felony as one can face. No matter if an investigation stems from a domestic dispute or the alleged crime involves business associates or strangers, if you are arrested for New York Penal Law 215.13, First Degree Tampering with a Witness, you should both anticipate and expect that the local District Attorney’s Office prosecuting the matter will make your case one of great priority. Ultimately, whether bail is set at your arraignment, a judge issues an Order of Protection, or your case meanders through the criminal justice system in New York State for a couple of months or many more, if you are convicted of First Degree Witness Tampering you will absolutely, and without question, find yourself incarcerated. It is of no consequences if you are the kindest of souls. It is irrelevant if your criminal lawyer legitimately paints you as a hardworking parent and community advocate. Because New York Penal Law 215.13 is a class “B” felony, any conviction requires incarceration for a minimum of one to three years in prison and a possible maximum of eight and one third to twenty-five.
Upon reading the above exposure upon conviction, its worth taking a moment to let the penalties associated with First Degree Witness Tampering sink in. Such a sentence is for individuals with a criminal history, correct? The simple and direct answer is no. First-time offenders are eligible for this sentencing structure. At bottom, know that if you fail to retain the best criminal defense law firm or criminal defense attorney you believe can defend you in the face of this crime, you will find yourself post-conviction in a prison cell filled with nothing but regret and fear.First Degree Tampering with a Witness: Elements of NY Penal Law 215.13
Each felony degree of Witness Tampering in New York elevates with the degree of the offense. That is, from Third Degree Tampering with a Witness to First Degree Tampering with a Witness, your exposure upon conviction is increased and the elements of the respective crimes becomes more burdensome for the District Attorney to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
While certainly not a legal term, one way to look at First Degree Witness Tampering is to examine the lesser crimes and then inject NY Penal Law 215.13 with steroids. Whereas Third and Second Degree Tampering with a Witness merely require a threat of physical injury or the infliction of the same, respectively, Tampering with a Witness in the First Degree ups the ante. To violate PL 215.13, you must intentionally cause a “serious physical injury” to another person and you must do so in order to attempt to or actually prevent, delay or obstruct a person from testifying or appearing at a proceeding. This level of injury, unlike the lower standard often associated with misdemeanor Assault crimes, requires far more significant damage. That is, long term protracted health issues or disfigurement. While causing blindness or knocking out a dozen teeth would reach this threshold, a split lip or broken finger would not.
No matter the nature of the injury, whether a legally defined “serious physical injury” or otherwise, the ramifications are great. Incarceration? No doubt. The loss of a professional license or certification? Very likely. An adverse impact on your legal status in the United States as a foreign national working or studying in New York or elsewhere? Prepare yourself for complications.
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If you find yourself targeted or arrested for First Degree Witness Tampering, take the steps to limit your exposure. When there is no substitute for advocacy, knowledge and experience, contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC. From New York City through the Hudson Valley and elsewhere, our criminal defense team is ready to pull you back from the precipice.
Call our criminal lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today