Dissuading a Witness or Victim

California Penal Code 136.1 – Dissuading a Witness or Victim

California Penal Code 136.1 PC prohibits a person from dissuading a witness or crime victim. This means that no person can try to do anything to prevent the witness or victim from providing a testimony. People who are arrested for and charged with this crime usually try to fight the charges away from jail to maintain their lives or responsibilities. They do this with a bail arrangement. The bail process involves someone posting a bail bond, which is usually about 10% of the total bail amount. A friend or relative may set up the bail arrangement. After the person who is facing charges is released, that individual must appear in court for every hearing until sentencing. When searching the internet for dissuading a victim California, these are the most important things to know.

What Does California Penal Code 136.1 PC Say?

When most people search the internet for dissuading a victim California, this code is the most relevant result. The law states that anyone who knowingly or maliciously dissuades a witness or victim is subject to imprisonment in state prison or county jail for not more than one year. One prosecution exception that the law states is when a family member intercedes with the intent to protect the witness and without malice.

What Is the Element of Acting Maliciously?

Malice is the intent to cause harm to another party. To understand the difference between malicious and non-malicious intent, imagine that a mother worries about her son’s safety if he testifies as a witness to a robbery. Her actions are based on her protective instincts and not on malice. What is the element of acting maliciously? Imagine that the friend of the alleged robber finds the woman’s son who witnessed the crime. If the man threatens to harm the witness to prevent him from testifying at trial, that would be acting out of malice.

What Is Preventing or Attempting to Prevent Testimony?

Preventing a witness or victim from testifying could involve force or a prohibited act. For example, kidnapping or beating people badly enough to prevent them from testifying would both be acts of force. Making false reports about victims or people connected to a crime to get them in trouble is also prohibited. Attempting to prevent testimony could include reparation attempts toward a victim. For example, a man who sexually assaults a woman may apologize and beg her to not testify against him. Even if he has no intent to harm her again, she may be afraid that he will hurt her if she testifies against him. The code specifies what is preventing or attempting to prevent a witness from testifying.

What Is Intimidating a Witness?

Intimidation is trying to scare someone. Intimidating a witness usually involves making threats or causing someone to worry for their safety. A person who intimidates a witness may also threaten the individual’s family. The offender may try to get a witness to lie or make specific statements under oath. Many people wonder if tampering with a witness is the same as intimidating a witness. California witness tampering may involve intimidation. However, it does not always involve threats or force. Tampering means to interfere with something. Just as a person who tampers with a part on a smartphone may void the warranty, a witness who has been tampered with can change the outcome of a trial. In some cases, California witness tampering may only involve bribery. For example, a wealthy person who killed another person may offer a witness $1 million to say that she could not see the accused’s face clearly or to describe someone who looks completely different. If the remaining evidence is weak, this could cause the jury to doubt the accused’s guilt.

In some cases, conspiracy and other applicable charges may be added in intimidation or tampering cases. Aggravated witness intimidation carries stricter penalties. For example, the use of a firearm to intimidate a witness may result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Talk to a criminal defense attorney to learn more about witness tampering and intimidation.

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