In Massachusetts and in other states, it is a crime to threaten, cause physical, emotional, or economic harm, bribe, harass, intimidate, or mislead a witness. If you have been charged with this crime, it is critical to seek an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. As a veteran criminal defense attorney for more than a decade, I provide tenacious criminal defense representation, and can help you with your charges against the prosecution and their efforts to convict.
What is harassment?
According to Massachusetts, harassing means acts which alarm or annoy a person and would cause the average person to suffer emotional distress. The act must be directed at a specific person to be considered harassment.
Who can be harassed?
A witness is defined as a person who is already a witness or a potential witness at any point in a criminal investigation or a person who has information, records, or documents relating to a criminal violation.
Witnesses include lay persons as well as judges, those in attendance at criminal or civil proceedings, federal agents, investigators, court clerks, court officers, law enforcement officers and officials, persons who have made their intentions to attend a civil or criminal proceeding known, and attorneys.
What does the government have to prove?
The government must prove that the offender willfully and intentionally tried to intimidate the witness through physical, emotional, or economic harm in order to interfere with the criminal investigation or criminal proceeding. The conduct can be done directly or indirectly by mail, phone, electronic devices, radios, or other means. The intimidation can also take the form of a bribe where the offender promises gifts or anything of value to a witness in exchange for their compliance with a specific request. The government does not have to show that the offender’s conduct was directly related to the criminal investigation or proceeding or that there was a specifically articulated warning given to the witness.
When must the act take place?
The wrongful act or conduct can take place at any point during a criminal investigation or a criminal proceeding, or even after the verdict. However, if a witness has already testified and the threat is too late to have an effect, it is not a chargeable offense.
What kinds of punishments are given?
Witness intimidation is a serious crime that can result in imprisonment in jail/house of corrections for 2 ½ years, state imprisonment of 10 years, and/or fines of $1,000-$5,000. Additionally each separate threat, even if made through the same form of communication, can be charged as an individual offense.
If You’ve Been Charged with Witness Intimidation, Please Call for a Free Consultation
As a criminal defense attorney with over 14 years of experience, I can provide an affordable, vigorous defense to protect your rights.
I would invite you to call me at (978) 851-5145 or fill out the contact form below to schedule a meeting at your convenience.
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