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What Is Witness Tampering?

When presenting a case before a court of law, it is common to call upon individuals who can provide accounts that support the arguments or claims made by lawyers. These individuals provide a testimony wherein their expertise or account of the incident become crucial to the elaboration or resolution of the case. However, it is possible that a party may interfere with the process of giving a testimony or the testimony itself. Such acts generally refer to witness tampering.

Witness tampering can be done in various ways and is considered to be punishable by law. This is because witness testimonies may prove to be the key element in winning or losing a case. For example, an eyewitness provides an account of what happened. If another party engages in behavior or acts that deliberately prevent such a testimony from being entered into court records and presented before a court of law, that person is guilty of witness tampering.

Behavior such as coercing a witness or using illegal means to prevent the witness from providing a testimony is considered to be witness tampering. This constitutes a federal crime according to United States Code statute 18, section 1512. This definition of witness tampering is “tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant.”

Depending upon the method of witness tampering, it is also possible for a person guilty of such a crime to be charged with another count of a criminal offense. For example, a person who bribes a witness not to testify is guilty of witness tampering and bribery.

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