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Franklin Divorce Attorney > Blog > Criminal > What are the Consequences for Tampering with Evidence in Tennessee?

What are the Consequences for Tampering with Evidence in Tennessee?


Evidence is used in every civil case, and every criminal case. Without evidence, judges and juries would have nothing to rely on in determining a fair ruling in a case, or in determining whether they believe that someone is guilty of a crime. Because of the critical role that evidence plays in processing court cases, tampering with evidence is a serious offense. If a person is found guilty of tampering with evidence they might face heavy fines and even lengthy prison sentences as a result.

Why is Tampering with Evidence Taken so Seriously?

Tampering with evidence might directly impede the ability for justice to be done in a case. In the worst-case scenarios, tampering with evidence could enable a guilty person to avoid being sentenced, or prevent an innocent person from proving their innocence. In the civil arena, tampering with evidence could even result in a parent unjustly being denied custody or parenting time in a custody case. The court system is in place in order to ensure that justice is done. Accordingly, it stands to reason that the courts deem tampering with evidence and that threat to justice as a serious issue.

What Is Tampering with Evidence?

While the state laws can differ, in Tennessee the Tennessee Code 39-16-503 provides the definition for what qualifies as tampering with evidence, and/or the fabrication of evidence.

In Tennessee, in order to be found guilty of tampering with evidence, the individual at issue must be found to have:

  • Destroyed, altered, or otherwise concealed a document, with
  • The intention to impair that document’s legibility, verity, or ability to be used as evidence,
  • In an ongoing or pending investigation or official proceeding

One might also be convicted of tampering with evidence if that person

  • Created, presented, or otherwise used a document
  • The use of this document was made with the knowledge that the document was false
  • The use of this document was done in order to influence or affect the course and/or outcome of an ongoing or pending investigation or other official proceeding

Tennessee Penalties for Evidence Tampering

Tennessee regards tampering with evidence as a serious offense. Accordingly, a conviction on this count will likely come with a heavy penalty.

Persons accused of tampering with evidence may be charged, and convicted, of a class C felony. The penalty for such felonies in Tennessee can be anywhere from three years to fifteen years imprisonment. A conviction can also result in fines of up to $10,000 dollars.

If you have been charged with a crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney, you should ask the court to appoint an attorney to represent you.

Contact Fort, Holloway Rogers

If you believe that a charge of tampering with evidence may be on the horizon for you or a loved one, or you have been notified of such a charge, it is imperative that you discuss your case with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A Franklin criminal defense lawyer at Fort, Holloway & Rogers can advocate for you and try to get charges dropped, reduced, or negotiate a plea deal. Speak to one of our criminal defense attorneys to learn more about the options available to you.




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