In most criminal cases, law enforcement and prosecution rely on the testimony of witnesses. Providing testimony at the best of times is not easy. The courtroom can feel intimidating, particularly for those who have never experienced it before.
For these reasons, the prosecution typically likes to make giving testimony as pleasant an experience as possible. The courts are also grateful for the effort given by witnesses. Consequently, intimidating witnesses is a serious criminal offense.
What does witness intimidation look like?
Threats of violence
Using or threatening violence toward witnesses of a legal case is the most serious type of witness intimidation. Importantly, this extends to family members, friends and anyone closely associated with the witness who may have influence over them — even pets.
Witness intimidation does not have to be physical or face-to-face. A phone call, text message or email to a witness in a live case that you are involved with could be interpreted as intimidation.
Threats of economic harm
Maybe you’re best friends with a witness’s employer or you’re fishing buddies with their landlord. Any indication that you’d use your influence to get them fired or evicted would also be considered witness intimidation.
In general, it’s frustrating to think that a witness may be mistaken or bearing false testimony against you. However, you need to take a big step back and realize that any contact between you and a witness or an alleged victim can lead to even bigger legal problems. If you are facing any kind of criminal charges it is vital to building a solid defense strategy. Having legal guidance on your side will help you to do this.