Though not a crime of domestic violence per se, Tampering with a Witness is charge that is certainly worthy of discussion as it relates to DV cases in general. Any attempt to induce a witness to testify falsely or to refrain from testifying altogether constitutes “tampering”. It is a Class C Felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. RCW 9A.72.120.
Tampering With a Witness – Penalties
Because of the close relationship one charged with a crime of domestic violence generally has with the alleged victim there can be both opportunity and temptation to attempt to influence their participation in the pending prosecution. Know that any attempt to do so that is discovered will be treated harshly. Not only is it a felony but each separate effort to tamper is treated as a unique individual charge. And with a seriousness level 3 designation, a person with no offender score would be facing 1-3 month in jail. If multiple counts were to be alleged, the penalty sought would become significantly more harsh.
Avoid Tampering Charges
The reality in many domestic violence cases is that the alleged victim ends up not wanting to pursue a prosecution. Because of the close relationship between the parties it can be tempting to engage in such discussions. Don’t do it. It very often leads to making a bad situation much worse. Even if a no contact order does not exist, you should still refrain at all costs from discussing the case with the alleged victim or any witness for that matter. Should they have questions regarding their own individual rights and responsibilities, they should seek the advice of their own, independent counsel.
If you have questions or concerns about tampering and have a lawyer, address those concerns as soon as possible. If you do not have counsel and need additional information on this subject, whether as a defendant, witness or alleged victim, feel free to contact our office to set up a consultation.