When you are charged with a crime, it can be tempting to delete information connected with the crime, make up new stories and create evidence for those stories, or change the information available to make yourself look better to a jury or judge. Yet, if you are considering doing any of this in your case, think again. Falsifying court records is a separate crime that can increase your penalties and lead to a “guilty” verdict.
An example: Two federal contractors working with the federal courts in Maryland have recently been indicted for helping defendants falsify their records. They are accused of falsifying drug tests, crafting discharge certificates for alcohol, drug and other required treatment, tampering with witnesses, and making false statements. They allegedly did these things while working as contractors for a company that tests federal crime defendants for probation and pretrial services.
According to the complaint, one of the defendants accepted 100 bribes for more than $10,000 while the other defendant received more than $15,000. If convicted, they may serve decades in prison and pay thousands in fines.
If you are tempted to alter evidence for your criminal defense case, do not take action until you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Tampering with evidence – called “spoliation” in legal terms – only helps prove guilt. It can also be considered obstruction of justice under Maryland’s criminal law.
An attorney will explain your options and the defenses available in your case. Depending on the facts of your case, it may be possible to reduce your charges and the penalties you face.
Source: The Washington Post, “Former contractors for Maryland federal court system indicted in bribery scheme,” Ann E. Marimow, Oct. 23, 2012
Learn more about criminal defense charges by visiting our pages on criminal defense in Maryland.