Courts throughout California use evidence to support the facts surrounding criminal charges. As such, the veracity of evidence is very important. In fact, anyone who attempts to bend the rules surrounding the proper handling of evidence could be charged under California Penal Code Section 141: Planting or Tampering with Evidence.
PC 141 charges cover a wide range of actions associated with evidence. Both police officers and other individuals can face harsh penalties if they are convicted of planting or tampering with evidence. The Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about how the court utilizes PC 141 charges.
Defining PC 141 Charges in California
Individuals in California may be charged with planting or tampering with evidence if they intentionally and willfully:
- Change Evidence
- Hide Evidence
- Move Evidence
- Make or Manufacture Evidence
- Plant or Place Evidence
An individual must be aware of what they are doing to be convicted under PC 141. Additionally, PC 141 charges only apply if an individual mistreated evidence so that:
- Someone Else Would Face Criminal Charges
- The Evidence Could be Treated as True or Genuine in a Legal Case
Note that legal cases are not only criminal trials in California. Individuals may also be convicted for tampering with evidence tied to a civil case, for example.
Types of Evidence in California
California uses a very broad definition of evidence when considering PC 141 charges. Evidence can include:
- Physical Objects
- Video Recordings
- Digital Images
Planting or tampering with any form of evidence can result in criminal charges. Note that PC 141 is not the only charge used to prosecute the mishandling of evidence. Individuals may face similar charges under:
- California Penal Code Section 115: Filing a False Document
- California Penal Code Section 118.1: Police Officers Filing False Reports
- California Penal Code Section 132 & 134: Offering Or Preparing False Evidence
- California Penal Code Section 135: Destroying or Concealing Evidence
These charges can apply if evidence is altered or planted in relation to any criminal act in California.
Penalties for Planting or Tampering with Evidence
PC 141 can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. Misdemeanor charges can be used if the individual who planted or tampered with evidence was not a member of the law enforcement services. Penalties for a misdemeanor include:
- Jail Time: Up to 6 Months
- Fines: Up to $1,000
Police officers who plant or tamper with evidence can be charged with a felony. This action could lead to up to 5 years of prison time.
Examples of PC 141 Violations in California
You can increase your understanding of PC 141 violations by going over these examples:
A police officer believes that a certain individual is selling drugs, but he doesn’t have enough proof to secure a conviction. After searching the individual’s apartment, the police officer decides to plant some drugs in the individual’s dresser, to secure drug possession charges. The police officer could be charged under PC 141.
Woman A hates one of her co-workers, Woman B. Woman A decides she’s going to try to get Woman B fired and plants an illicit substance in Woman B’s desk at work. Woman A could be prosecuted for planting evidence.
Possible Defenses for PC 141 Charges
Individuals who are charged with planting or tampering with evidence may be able to build a legal defense. A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can go over your unique case and may be able to show that:
You Did Not Intend to Plant or Tamper with Evidence
PC 141 charges should only lead to a conviction if you intentionally planted or tampered with evidence. If you did not know you were mishandling evidence, you may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 141.
You Were Falsely Accused of Planting or Tampering with Evidence
False charges can happen in the court system in Los Angeles. You may be accused of planting or tampering with evidence when, in fact, you carried out no such action. A criminal defense lawyer can go over the facts of your case if you were falsely accused of a PC 141 violation.
Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer About PC 141 Charges
You do not have to try to face California Penal Code Section 141: Planting or Tampering with Evidence charges alone. You can get immediate legal advice by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Let our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers start building your defense today by completing our online contact form, or by calling (310) 896-2723.
You can start getting answers now with a FREE consultation.