A conviction for intimidation of a witness has serious consequences, including the possibility of a prison sentence.
In order to convict a defendant of intimidation of a witness, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
A recent movement, called “STOP SNITCHING” has invaded many inner-city communities. Police departments and prosecutors have taken notice, and have begun aggressively charging and prosecuting this crime. Intimidation of a witness is most often charged in two situations:
If the police are investigating you for committing a crime and you deny that you are guilty, you could be charged with intimidation of a witness. Recent cases have considered whether a denial to the police can be prosecuted under this statute. It continues to be a murky area of the law, but as always, nobody who is the target of a criminal investigation should talk to the police without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney.
Intimidation of witness cases can be defended in a variety of ways.
If the alleged victim has a criminal record or a history of violence, Attorney Spring will attempt to present this information to the jury. Criminal convictions are generally admissible within a certain time frame (convictions for misdemeanors within the last five years are admissible; convictions for felonies within the last 10 years are admissible). History of violence evidence (also called “prior bad act” evidence) is generally admissible to impeach the alleged victim. Attorney Spring has extensive experience litigating these types of issues.
In most intimidation of a witness cases that go to trial, there is bad blood between the defendant and the alleged victim. The alleged victim ordinarily wants to see the defendant convicted and punished. The alleged victim’s desire for revenge will be fully exposed on cross-examination.
The Commonwealth is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant specifically intended to interfere with a witness. Failure to prove the defendant’s specific intent will result in a not guilty verdict.
Given the serious consequences that result from an intimidation of a witness conviction, it is essential that you have an attorney who is experienced in trying these types of cases. Attorney Spring prosecuted these cases when he served as an assistant district attorney, and he has successfully defended these cases since founding Spring & Spring. Contact our Middlesex County criminal defense attorneys today if you have been accused of crimes like unarmed burglary or animal cruelty.