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 offense below.
TAMPERING WITH WITNESS ATTORNEY FAQs
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Tampering with Witness is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 8 “Offenses Against Public Administration”, Chapter 36 “Bribery And Corrupt Influence.”
The current Texas law is as follows:1
(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).
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.2
A conviction for Tampering with Witness is punished as a Felony of the Third Degree,3 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.4 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,5 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.6 Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors
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 §36.05(e-2)