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Preparing False Evidence

Altering Or Preparing False Evidence - Penal Code 132 & 134

In Los Angeles county it is illegal to get yourself involved with preparing or altering any sort of evidence or testimony. A lot of times people are desperate when they're charged with a crime and they start to get bad ideas in their mind that they're going to change their testimony or they're going to try to get some witness to alter their testimony. Obviously, if the prosecutors or police find out that you're changing or altering testimony or evidence in a criminal case, they're going to prosecute you for that and try to punish you very severely.

The way they look at it is you're basically messing around with the fabric of our judicial system – our criminal justice system – because you're trying to not get to the truth in a matter and you're trying to change the outcome by doing something illegal – like altering or changing evidence of testimony pursuant to California Penal Code Sections 132 and 134.

Where I see this coming up a lot is where people are either trying to get a witness to change their testimony or they're changing their testimony. A lot of times this comes up in a domestic violence case where the spouse that's in trouble is trying to get the other spouse to change or alter their evidence or testimony related to them, if even trying to get a witness to change their testimony or evidence against them so they can have a not guilty verdict and not be convicted and get punished in a criminal matter pending in Los Angeles County.

Legal Defenses for Altering and Preparing Evidence

One defense is you didn't try to do that, and you look at the facts of the case and you say, listen I'm certainly allowed to talk to my spouse or other witness, as long as I'm not trying to get them to do anything that they're not supposed to do. Sometimes people are talking to other people and they're just basically trying to get them to tell the truth.

The other person lied, embellished things and got angry because of the scenario, or maybe they tried to gain some economic advantage over another person, so they told a bunch of falsehoods and lies and now they're trying to spin that on the other person and saying that they tried to get them to alter their testimony or evidence and then the prosecutors are trying to prosecute them pursuant to Penal Code Sections 132 or 134. So, really the best defense is sometimes the truth. Sometimes getting to your version of what happened in these altering evidence cases and once your version is gotten across, then the prosecutors can be convinced to dismiss the case, or a jury will find you not guilty.

Developing an Effective Defense Strategy

The biggest problem I see with altering evidence cases or trying to get somebody to change their testimony is that a lot of time this is brought to the attention of the police or prosecutors, and they rush to judgment. They only get half a story. They don't get the client's version of events, so they're operating under either false facts or not with all the facts. That's where a criminal defense attorney has to come in and really look at what happened – have a good conversation with client and get their version of events.

If their version of events makes sense and it's a complete defense to the crime of altering evidence or testimony, then obviously that's going to have to be discussed with the prosecutors and see if you can get them to dismiss the case, or maybe sometimes the truth lies somewhere in the middle and a good mitigation package could be put together which includes the client's version of events so that everything is looked at and we just don't have a rush to judgment and then the prosecutors can consider that and giving a lesser charge.

Really what it boils down to is if you have one of these cases where you're charged with California Penal Code Section 132 or 134 and you believe that the prosecutors are not being fair and are claiming that you tried to alter somebody's testimony or evidence, then you really need to sit down with a seasoned defense attorney. I've been doing this since from twenty-five years and good communication with clients in these situations is crucial in getting the person the best possible resolution and getting them out of the criminal justice system as fast as possible.

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