Tampering with evidence, which may involve hiding, destroying or altering evidence, is a serious criminal offense. Here are some of the defenses you can try if you are accused of tampering with evidence:
You Did Not Intend To Do It
Tampering with evidence is an intentional crime so the prosecution must prove that you wanted to destroy the evidence for you to be convicted of the crime. This means that you may stage a successful defense if you can prove that it wasn't your intention to destroy the evidence.
Consider a case where you are charged with tampering with evidence because the authorities believed you burned down a storage shed that contained stolen goods. If you can prove that the storage got burned accidentally, for example, due to a gas leak accident or an electrical fault, then you may escape your charges. You will only be prosecuted if the prosecution is successful in proving that you intentionally burned down the shed to get rid of the evidence.
You Did Not Know It Was Evidence
Apart from lack of intention, you can also defend yourself by proving that you did not know that the item you destroyed was evidence. The charges of tampering with evidence only apply if you know that the item in question was evidence in a criminal proceeding but still went ahead to destroy it anyway.
Consider an example in which you are charged with tampering evidence because you crashed a marijuana joint under your foot when the police were about to arrest you. In this case, if you can prove that it is your usual habit to crash the remaining bit of joint after smoking, you may be able to escape the charges of tampering with evidence because you never intended to damage the joint to keep it away from the authorities.
You Did Not Know There Was an Ongoing or Pending Investigation
Lastly, you may also be able to defend yourself if you can prove that you didn't even know there was an investigation underway or there would be one in the future. Take an example where you are living with a roommate, and the police are investigating your roommate on suspicion of drug possession and peddling. If you throw away some drug paraphernalia into the trash bin and it gets carted away, you may escape the tampering-with-evidence charges if you can prove that you didn't know about the investigations.
Of course, the best defense is the one that applies to your situation. A criminal lawyer, such as Martinez, Raymond, can analyze the circumstances of your alleged crime and advise you on which defense to adopt.