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Have you been accused of tampering with evidence? 

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | White Collar Crimes

Deleting and destroying documents is a routine part of the job for many people. Old files are often irrelevant, so there is no need to keep them. 

However, what happens if the company you are involved with comes under investigation by the authorities? If this happens, they will likely be looking for evidence, which could include the files that have been deleted. Could you be charged with tampering with evidence

Were you aware of the investigation? 

To be charged with tampering with evidence, you must be aware that an investigation was pending or at least probable. If you had no idea about any potential investigations and carried out the destruction of files, then this is not a criminal act. 

Even when an investigation is pending or probable, this doesn’t mean that routine business practices, such as discarding old and irrelevant files need to stop. However, it may be in your best interests and the company’s to cease destroying files while any investigations are ongoing.  

Tampering with evidence is a crime that must be established by criminal intent. The accused must have known that their actions had the potential to interfere with a criminal investigation. Crucially, all of these factors must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt before charges can stick. 

During an investigation, law enforcement may seize evidence. To do so, they must first have a valid search warrant or probable cause of criminal activity. 

Tampering with evidence is a very serious charge and it is important to respond appropriately. Seeking legal guidance is the best place to start when formulating a defense strategy.