When it comes to individuals being charged with intimidating a government witness, this relates to someone using some sort of force, fear, threats of force or fear, or some other angle to put pressure on someone who is going to testify for the government.
Typically the government is either the people of the state of California – this handles all the cases in the Los Angeles Superior Court – also the federal government can be covered under this, but Penal Code Section 140 really is covering state activity in one of the courts in Los Angeles County.
So, if somebody threatens or exerts some sort of force against one of the people of the people of the state of California's witnesses in a criminal case pending in Los Angeles County, typically what I've seen – and I've seen this happen in preliminary hearings and trial across Los Angeles County, that person is just going to be arrested immediately.
They'll probably put $100,000.00 bail on him and they may even put other conditions relating to their bail that blocks them from getting out of custody.
So, they take these cases very serious and if you're charged with an offense involving intimidating or threatening a witness then you have to get an attorney immediately who has handled these types of cases, knows what the prosecutors are likely to do in the case, knows what types of defenses work and knows what types of defenses don't work.
Legal Defenses for Penal Code Section 140
Well, the critical fact is you actually have to be making some sort of a lawful threat to somebody. You just talking to a witness, unless there's some sort of a protective order where you can't talk to the witness, is not necessarily a violation of Penal Code Section 140.
Sometimes people say some stupid stuff that really isn't meant to threaten or intimidate a witness, but it's just them talking and depending on the context of it, where it's said, how the two parties relate together, that's probably going to determine whether or not they can actually prosecute somebody under Penal Code Section 140.
So, we get you in, we go over everything. We look at the context of what happened, and we try to talk about some angles.
You match the elements up with what they're claiming you did, then obviously the one piece of the puzzle the authorities usually never have your version of events, because a lot of times they just do a snap judgment – rush to judgment – and don't get the other side of the story, don't get all the facts, don't do any investigation or don't see if there were any other witnesses who heard what happened.
Maybe there's some video evidence that's available – especially if it's done in the courthouse, so, these are all things that have to be looked out, and obviously, your attorney has to have some experience and wisdom, has done these types of cases before, knows what the prosecutors can win and know what they can't win.
Once it's determined whether or not your case is a winnable case from a defense standpoint, then that's going to dictate what strategy we're going to employ – if we're going to take the case to jury and trial, we're going to get the witnesses, we're going to do the investigation and we're going to set up the defense where you're involved. We get your version of events.
We talk about what you can do to help get the right result and what I'm going to do. You'll have an idea of what you're facing and what types of moves can be made to win your case.
If, on the other hand, this is a case where they have the evidence. Maybe there's some sort of video or audio of the alleged threat – some people actually make phone calls and threaten people and identify themselves. In that case, they've got the case and obviously, we're going to have to do some plea bargaining.
We're going to have to mitigate the situation with character letters and, again, putting things in context. Not everything is what meets the eye.
A lot of times – especially in these intimidating a witness – prosecutions under Penal Code Section 140 – a lot of times these things are blown out of proportion. The person really didn't threaten them. It really has to be some sort of a credible threat that is made to the person or the property, another person to actually do something. Not just some stupid statement that is not clear and concise.
Minimize the Damage
So, that's where a good criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles comes in to fight for you and gets your side of the story out there, and I try to do everything I possibly can to minimize the damage that one of these types of prosecutions can have on you.
We get you in the office. We go over everything. Obviously, it's all confidential because the attorney-client privilege protects any communications between myself and you, and we really get down to the nitty-gritty of how the case is going to be defended, what strategies we're going to employ, what results we are going to be looking for and then we set about executing a plan to get you what you need to have in your criminal matter.
For more information on Intimidating A Government Witness In California, a free initial consultation is your best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.