Tampering With a Witness in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law 215.11

by ECL Writer
What Is A Criminal Complaint?

Tampering with a witness is a serious crime that can result in significant legal consequences. In the state of New York, witness tampering is a crime that is taken very seriously, and those who are accused of tampering with a witness can face harsh penalties. One specific offense related to witness tampering in New York is Tampering with a Witness in the Third Degree, which is covered under Penal Law 215.11. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will take a closer look at what constitutes Tampering with a Witness in the Third Degree, the penalties for this crime, and what to do if you have been accused of this offense. We will also explore some real-life examples of Tampering with a Witness in Third Degree cases in New York to provide a better understanding of this criminal offense.

According to New York Penal Code 215.11, tampering with a witness in the third degree is a felony offense that can result in up to four years in state prison. A Supreme Court or County Court Judge in New York City or the Hudson Valley, respectively, can actually 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 of incarceration as a first-time offender if you are found guilty of this felony.

An equally terrifying reality is that once a felony is on your criminal record, there is no way to have it removed. This is true whether you are indicted by a Grand Jury and subsequently plead guilty to PL 215.11 or a jury finds you guilty after a trial. Simply put, it is crucial to engage the best criminal defense attorney or law firm you believe will fight for you if you are charged with Third Degree Tampering with a Witness in order to lessen or perhaps avoid the immediate and indirect repercussions of a felony criminal record.

Understanding The Element Of PL 215.11

Whatever subsection you are charged with does not matter in terms of possible penalties or penalty for a Third Degree Tampering with a Witness conviction. Nevertheless, while the crimes may be similar, they are also different. According to New York Penal Code 215.11(1), if you force someone to skip a hearing or make an attempt to stop them from attending or testifying, you are guilty of witness tampering in the third degree. You scare that individual into thinking you would physically harm him or her or a third party in order to stop or try to stop him or her from arriving.

It’s significant to note that the New York Criminal Law clearly mentions “physical” injury. Physical injury is defined, in part, as intense agony, which can accompany even the smallest injury—such as a sprained wrist, bloodied lip, or other minor wounds. Both a life-threatening injury and a reasonable fear of “severe physical injury” are not prerequisites for Witness Tampering in the Third Degree.

According to New York Penal Code 215.11(2), if you attempt to coerce someone to make a false swearing, you are in violation of the law and are guilty of Witness Tampering in the Third Degree. This needs to be accomplished by making that person fearful that you’ll harm them physically or someone else. The type of injury is again fairly little and need not even be caused, just like in subdivision one.

The consequences are severe regardless of whether the provision of tampering in the third degree you are accused or charged with. No, neither an indictment nor an arrest constitutes evidence of criminal activity. Whatever your legal situation, you must take the necessary action to locate and gather the proof you need in order to best defend yourself moving forward. The alternative will result in a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life, as well as the possibility of being imprisoned, losing your job, and other serious consequences.

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