Facing The Law Can Be Scary
It can be frightening to be arrested, knowing that there is evidence that the police may find that might incriminate you or a loved one. In that case, you might be tempted to shred documents, toss the drugs down the toilet, and do whatever else you can to make sure the police don’t have enough evidence for a conviction — known in Oklahoma as destruction of evidence.
But as tempting as it might be, the destruction of evidence can lead to serious trouble with the law, adding jail time and other penalties. It could even hurt your defense. Sometimes the evidence that we think harmful, may actually help exonerate you.
Destruction of Evidence In Oklahoma
Destruction of evidence can take place in all sorts of court proceedings: civil, criminal, probate and pre-litigation. If you knowingly destroy evidence that is likely to be used as part of a court proceeding or criminal investigation, you are breaking the law in Oklahoma. The law states that any person who knowingly destroys any book, paper, written instrument or other thing that is to be produced as evidence in any trial, proceeding or investigation — to keep it from being produced as evidence — is guilty of a misdemeanor. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 454
The crime is punishable by up to a year in jail.
In any criminal prosecution, the state must prove all elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Here are the elements for the crime of destruction of evidence:
- you acted willfully,
- to destroy a thing,
- knowing that it was about to be produced into evidence at a proceeding/trial/investigation, and
- with the intent to prevent the item from being produced. (OUJI-CR 3-37)
Defenses in these cases usually revolve around a lack of awareness that one is destroying evidence or a lack of awareness that the thing destroyed was, in fact, evidence.
If you or a loved one are facing charges for destruction of evidence, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. Your attorney will be able to help you build a strong defense.
Free Consultation With An Experienced Claremore Criminal Defense Attorney
Although this is a misdemeanor, if convicted, you could still face jail time.
Don’t try to go this one alone. Call the Claremore Lawyer today.
And the initial consultation is free. Call us at (918) 213-0950.
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