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Graphic of Paul Saputo next to words Tampering with Witness

Tampering with Witness

The Tampering with Witness crime makes it illegal in the state of Texas to try to get a witness to not testify or testify falsely by means of a bribe or coercion. The Tampering with Witness law also gives police the right to arrest the witness if they believe the witness accepted or agreed to accept any benefit to testify falsely or to not testify at all. Learn more detailed information about the Tampering with Witness offense below.

Have you been charged with Tampering with Witness? Call criminal lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.

Tampering with Witness is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 8 “Offenses Against Public Administration”, Chapter 36 “Bribery And Corrupt Influence.”

What is the law in Texas about Tampering with Witness?

The offense is described in Section 36.05 of the Texas Penal Code.

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to influence the witness, he offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit on a witness or prospective witness in an official proceeding, or he coerces a witness or a prospective witness in an official proceeding:

(1) to testify falsely;

(2) to withhold any testimony, information, document, or thing;

(3) to elude legal process summoning him to testify or supply evidence;

(4) to absent himself from an official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned; or

(5) to abstain from, discontinue, or delay the prosecution of another.

(b) A witness or prospective witness in an official proceeding commits an offense if he knowingly solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept any benefit on the representation or understanding that he will do any of the things specified in Subsection (a).

How can I be charged with Tampering with Witness?

You can be charged with Tampering with Witness if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 36.05(a) as described in the section above have been met. If you received some kind of compensation to “abstain from, discontinue, or delay the prosecution of” someone else, then you can argue that as a defense to prosecution, so long as the the compensation or benefit was the result of an agreement negotiated with an attorney for the state.1

What is the punishment for Tampering with Witness?

A conviction for Tampering with Witness is punished as a Felony of the Third Degree,2 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 10 years, unless one of the following exceptions apply. If the official proceeding is part of the prosecution of a criminal case then an offense under this section will be the same category as the most serious offense charged in the case.3 If the most serious offense is a Capital Felony, then a conviction for Tampering with Witness is punished as a Felony of the First Degree,4 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 99 years. Special punishment rules apply to family violence cases.5 Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors


Legal References:

1 Texas Penal Code Section 36.05(c)

2 Texas Penal Code Section 36.05(d)

3 Texas Penal Code Section 36.05(d)

4 Texas Penal Code Section 36.05(e)

5 See Texas Penal Code Section 36.05(e-1):

Notwithstanding Subsection (d), if the underlying official proceeding involves family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, an offense under this section is the greater of:

(1) a felony of the third degree; or

(2) the most serious offense charged in the criminal case.

Also see Texas Penal Code Section 36.05(e-2):

Notwithstanding Subsections (d) and (e-1), if the underlying official proceeding involves family violence, as defined by

Section 71.004, Family Code, and it is shown at the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted of an offense involving family violence under the laws of this state or another state, an offense under this section is the greater of:

(1) a felony of the second degree; or

(2) the most serious offense charged in the criminal case.

Published by Criminal Defense Attorney on and last modified