We work hard to preserve the integrity of the judicial system, and to that end, Oklahoma has passed a number of laws that help to preserve the system from unfair influence. One way in which the laws work is to prevent any interference with lawful evidence. Preventing a witness from giving testimony in Okmulgee, Oklahoma is an unlawful interference with the laws of evidence.
Preventing a Witness From Giving Testimony is Against the Law in Oklahoma
We want to win our court battles. And there are both lawful ways and unlawful ways to tip the balance in our favor. Interfering with or preventing witness testimony strikes at the heart of the legal system.
In Oklahoma, preventing a witness from giving testimony is defined as a willful attempt — through force, fear, harassment or harm — to prevent or alter a person’s testimony or the production of other evidence in court or an attempt to prevent or alter a report of abuse or neglect made by that witness to the proper authorities.
The law also prohibits any person from threatening or causing physical harm through force or fear or harassment to a person who has given testimony in any civil or criminal trial or proceeding, or who has made a report of abuse or neglect. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 455
The crime is a felony and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Preventing Witness Testimony: Subtle or Overt
There are many different ways to prevent a witness from testifying or making a report. Some threats are subtle — tearing up a piece of the witness’s clothing and leaving it where they might find it. Some threats are overt — the brandishing of a gun coupled with a verbal threat to use it if the witness testifies.
Both are clear threats and meant to prevent witness testimony. The fear of retaliation is very real for the witness.
Defenses to Preventing Witness Testimony
This crime is grounded in intent. The action must be taken with the intent to prevent or alter a witness’s testimony or the introduction of other evidence. The prosecution must prove that intent. Therefore any facts that tend to disprove that intent are crucial in the building of a strong defense.
It is important to discuss all facts with an experienced Okmulgee defense attorney. What may seem like an inconsequential fact may prove to be important in your defense.
Call for a Free Consultation With An Experienced Okmulgee Criminal Attorney
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Finding the right Okmulgee lawyer for you can be difficult. Call the Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee at (918) 756-9600 and let us demonstrate why Wirth Law is the firm for you.