TAMPERING WITH EVIDENCE
In Florida, per FS 918.13, Tampering with Evidence is when a person knowingly:
Alter, destroy, conceal, or remove any record, document, or thing with the purpose to impair its verity or availability in such proceeding or investigation; or
Make, present, or use any record, document, or thing, knowing it to be false
The statute also defines Fabricating Evidence as making, presenting, or using any record, document, or thing, knowing it to be false.
The State attorney must prove two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
The Defendant knew that a criminal trial, proceeding, or investigation was taking place; and
The Defendant altered, destroyed, concealed or removed any record, document, or thing with the purpose to impair its verity or availability in the investigation or proceeding, or the Defendant made, presented, or used any record, document or thing knowing it to be false.
Tampering is a third-degree felony in Florida and is punishable as follows:
Up to 5 years in prison; or
5 years of probation; and
Different defenses are available depending on the facts of the case, however, not every case will have a defense. The defenses can be legal or factual in nature such as:
Lack of knowledge as to pending investigation;
Evidence was abandoned, not removed or destroyed