Tampering With a Witness in the Third Degree
Tampering with a Witness in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 215.11, is a felony offense punishable by up to four years in state prison. In fact, as an indeterminate sentence, if you are convicted of this felony, a Supreme Court or County Court Judge, in New York City or the Hudson Valley respectively, can sentence you to as little as no incarceration, “city” or “county” time, or in one third increments up to one and one third to four years incarceration as a first time offender. While the potential of finding yourself “upstate” is a harrowing prospect, if you are indicted by a Grand Jury and ultimately plead guilty to PL 215.11 or a jury finds you guilty after trial, an equally frightening reality is that once a felony is on your criminal record there is no way to remove the same. Simply, if you are accused of Third Degree Tampering with a Witness it is critical to hire the best criminal lawyer or criminal defense firm you believe will advocate on your behalf to reduce or eliminate the direct and secondary consequences of a felony criminal record.Third Degree Tampering with a Witness: The Elements of PL 215.11
In terms of the potential sentences and punishment for a Third Degree Tampering with a Witness conviction, it is irrelevant which subsection you find yourself charged. That said, the crimes may be the same, but they are also distinct.
New York Penal Law 215.11(1): You are guilty of Witness Tampering in the Third Degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law 215.11(1) if you compel a person not to appear or attempt to prevent that person from appearing or testifying at a proceeding. The means by which you stop or try to stop him or her from appearing is by scaring that person into believing you will cause physical injury to him or her or a third party.
It is important to note that "physical" injury is specifically written in the New York Penal Law. Physical injury is defined, in part, as substantial pain and can be as insignificant as a sprained wrist, bloody lip or other smaller injury coupled with this degree of pain. A life threatening injury is not required nor must the target of Witness Tampering in the Third Degree reasonably fear a “serious physical injury.”
New York Penal Law 215.11(2): You are guilty of Witness Tampering in the Third Degree, in violation of New York Penal Law 215.11(2), if you force or try to force a person into swearing falsely. This must be done by instilling in that person a fear that you will either cause physical injury to that person or a third party. Again, and just like subsection one, the type of injury is fairly nominal and need not actually be inflicted.
Irrespective of which subsection of Tampering in the Third Degree you find yourself accused or charged, the ramifications are grave. No, an arrest is not proof of wrongdoing nor is an indictment a guarantee for a future conviction. However, whatever your legal predicament, it is critical that you take the steps to identify and secure the evidence you need to best protect yourself going forward. The alternative and a failure to do so will leave you permanently burdened with a criminal record and the prospect of incarceration, loss of your livelihood and irreversible consequences that will continue throughout your life.
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If you find yourself under investigation by any District Attorney’s Office in New York City or the Hudson Valley, take control of your life and contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law so advocacy, knowledge and experience can be your best defense.
Call our criminal defense lawyers at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today