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Tampering With a Witness in the Second Degree

Second Degree Tampering With a Witness: NY Penal Law 215.12

Closely aligned with Tampering with a Witness in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 215.11, Tampering with a Witness in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 215.12, “bumps up” what is already a serious felony to an even more significant crime. That is, in lieu of exposure to as much as four years in a New York State prison, if you are ultimately convicted of Second Degree Tampering, irrespective of where the offense occurs in New York State, your sentencing judge can punish you with a term of incarceration up to seven years. More specifically, even if you have no prior involvement in the criminal justice system, a judge has the authority to incarcerate you to as long as two and one third to seven years. The potential of imprisonment coupled with an indelible felony record should make it overwhelmingly clear. If you are charged with or indicted by a Grand Jury for Third Degree Witness Tampering, even if the allegations are unfair, exaggerated or completely fictitious, failure to retain the right criminal defense lawyers or criminal defense firm to represent your interests can, and likely will, lead to a disastrous outcome that will haunt you in perpetuity.

Second Degree Tampering with a Witness: Elements of NY Penal Law 215.12

One way to look at NY Penal Law 215.12, whether you are an experienced criminal trial lawyer or an accused with limited knowledge of New York’s criminal justice system, is to view the crime as an enhanced version of the lesser offense of NY Penal Law 215.11. Whereas you must merely threaten physical injury in order to prevent a person from testifying or appearing at a proceeding to satisfy the elements of Third Degree Witness Tampering, you must actually cause this physical injury to a person to violate Second Degree Witness Tampering. Additionally, you do not have to only prevent the person or attempt to stop the target of your actions from going to court or testifying. Instead, the New York Penal Law lowers the threshold of what you must do to run afoul of the law. That is, if you attempt to delay or obstruct that person, and while doing so cause a physical injury, you have perpetrated Tampering with a Witness in the Second Degree. Remember, because the legal standard for physical injury is relatively nominal, a punch to the gut, throwing down the target of your tampering and leaving him or her with “road rash” or even pulling out a clump of hair could satisfy the physical injury element as long as it caused the complainant substantial pain.

No matter your alleged conduct, know that the differences between Third Degree Tampering with a witness, NY PL 215.11, and Second Degree Tampering with a Witness, NY PL 215.12, are drastic when it comes to potential punishment and sentencing. Complicating your life with the possible loss of your ability to work, jeopardizing your future due to compromising professional licensure, and risking your ability to remain in the United States as a foreign national, a conviction for any Witness Tampering crime is debilitating.

Whether you are under investigation for committing Second Degree Tampering of a Witness in Westchester County, arrested for New York Penal Law 215.12 in Manhattan, or you are indicted and face a trial anywhere in the Hudson Valley or New York City for a Witness Tampering offense, know that you must seize the opportunity to push back, challenge the evidence, confront a complainant and implement the strongest strategy to overcome an allegation of wrongdoing. With the advocacy, knowledge and experience of Saland Law’s criminal lawyers and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys at your side, what seems bleak and foreboding today, can result in exoneration tomorrow.

Call our criminal lawyers and former prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today

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